Parents continue to ask for video of alleged abuse by ASD teacher
It is an issue that doesn't seem to be going away. Parents continue to ask why the Anchorage School District won't directly provide a copy of school surveillance video to them. Nicholas and Katherine Armon say the video shows their autistic son being abused by Ptarmigan Elementary School teacher Lynn Sherwood.
Sherwood faces one count of child abuse for the alleged incident last May at the school. The parents say the video shows Sherwood pushing their son into a door, who ends up falling to the ground. They say their son Austin suffered injuries to his head and back.
The parents want a copy of the video. They say the school district has let them watch the video but they want the district to provide them a copy, saying it's important that the public sees exactly what happened.
On Monday, ASD spokesperson Cathrine Esary released a statement saying it was meant to "clarify the issue of the tape."
"The Anchorage School District is fully cooperating with the Anchorage Police Department, and has provided a copy of the footage to APD and the municipal prosecutor handling the criminal case. ASD has made the same footage available for the Armons to view, and the Armons have viewed it. Consistent with ASD’s practice of authorizing parental viewing of surveillance footage but not producing copies of the school’s surveillance footage, ASD authorized the Armons to view the video but has not provided a copy of it to anyone but law enforcement."
Teacher Lynn Sherwood did not appear for a scheduled pre-trial court hearing on Monday. Her attorney wanted more time for discovery. KTVA 11 has contacted Sherwood for comment but she has declined to speak on different occasions. KTVA briefly talked to Sherwood's attorney in court Monday.
"We'll see how it all pans out," said lawyer Kevin Fitzgerald.
Austin's parents talked more after court about the alleged incident. They say their son is scared after what happened.
"Whenever he has another meltdown, something he brought up is 'what are you going to do, push me into a corner like Ms. Sherwood did?'" said Katherine.
The parents say the event was triggered when a student in art class wanted to give away some art supplies. Austin spoke up and said he wanted the supplies. The family says that's when some other students started "bugging" Austin about why the boy should get them. They say he acted out in class, but not exactly sure what he did. They say that's when his primary teacher barred him from recess. They say she pulled him from the line and later pushed him up against a door injuring his head and back.
Nicholas is asking ASD to provide more teacher training on how to handle kids who act out; and not just autistic kids.
"Any teacher at any time could be faced with a situation where they have to restrain a child. And they need to be trained on it plain and simple," said Nicholas Armon.
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