Jose Salinas, 10, pictured on a Facebook page set up by supporters after two instructors, were captured on a recording apparently mistreating the fourth grader, who has cerebral palsy. The page is called "We got your back, Little Joe!"
A school district in Alabama has placed two teachers on leave after they were accused of verbally abusing one of their students, a fourth-grade boy with cerebral palsy, a school official confirmed Friday.
"The only thing I can confirm is that the teachers are on leave," said David Sewell, an official with Houston County Schools in Alabama. "It is being investigated."
The incident was reported to the district by the boy’s mother, Melisha Salinas, according to an article on ABCnews.com, who learned about her son’s treatment by attaching an audio recorder to the wheelchair used by her son, 10-year-old Jose Salinas.
The tape reportedly records the voice of fulltime special education teacher Alicia Brown and fulltime teacher’s aide Drew Faircloth castigating Jose for his "disgusting" drooling — which is involuntary — and suggests that the boy was left alone for long periods of time with no instruction, according to the ABC report.
"You drooled on the paper," a male’s voice in the recording says — allegedly that of Faircloth. "That's disgusting."
"Why is my paper wet?" a female teacher is heard demanding on the tape, the ABC report said. "Look at me and answer. That's not an answer. That's not even a word."
"You have got drool all over your face and it is gross," the voice reportedly said.
The mother told ABC she knew her son was not happy in school and decided to plant the recording device after another student told her that the teacher had been "mean" to Jose, nicknamed Little Joe at school.
Salinas took the recordings — taped over three days — to the Houston County School, and the two staffers were placed on administrative leave. When the instructors returned to the classroom last Friday, Salinas took the recording to the press, according to the ABC account.
On Monday, they were placed on paid administrative leave again, the Houston school official said.
Jose is back in school, and reportedly much happier.
Outraged community members set up a Facebook page, "We Got Your Back Little Joe!!!," which has more than 6,000 supporters.
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