All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. — Carla B.
A new public service announcement detailing how Fulton County School Teachers, Melanie Pickens and Katherine Dorn Durden allegedly defiled and ultimately killed disabled youth, Aaron Hatcher.
The non profit organization, They Can’t Talk But We Can announced the news and is set to head up the movement.
The coalition, which is a humanitarian effort, put in place to create awareness on the maltreatment of disabled youths. Highlighting the unprecedented, purported wrongdoing of students, shedding light on some of the alleged misconduct which eventually led to Hatcher’s death.
In 2012 the parents of Aaron, filed a $10.5 million lawsuit against the district and 15 Fulton County public school employees, claiming he died after a teacher physically abused him, WGCL-TV reports.
The parents, Ronald and Arthelia Hatcher, claim the teachers forced Aaron to wear a homemade neck brace to turn his head to face the classroom, according to Jarrod Oxendine, the family’s attorney. They believe the teachers actions led to their son’s death. last March. The Courthouse News Service details the lawsuit’s account of the alleged abuse, saying the brace constricted Aaron’s breathing:
“While in Mrs. Durden’s class, Aaron came home with bruises on his back and hands, making it clear that he was not being properly secured in his chair. Further, and without parental or medical consent, Mrs. Durden took it upon herself to twist and then constrain Aaron’s neck in a makeshift neck brace apparently because she did not like the way Aaron was forced to twist his neck in order to breathe. While a student in Mrs. Durden’s class, Aaron was repeatedly rushed to the hospital from school as a result of the abuse.”
Ronald Hatcher told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he even sought medical intervention to stop the teacher from restraining him with the brace — to no avail.
“I went to the doctor and got a letter to tell them to stop this,” Ronald Hatcher told AJC. “They would not listen to me. He would have to sit a certain way in order for him to breathe. Several times he would go to the hospital from school cold blue.”
The lawsuit also names Fulton County Schools, Hopewell Middle School and Roswell High as a whole, noting — the teachers assaulted, battered, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
Moreover, along with the homemade neck brace, the AJC reports that Perkins “passed gas” in Aarons face and overturned his wheelchair.
Ealier this year, Fulton County Judge Henry Newkirk granted immunity to the teachers. According to reports Newkirk made his decision after hearing three days of testimony from people who witnessed Melanie Pickens’ behavior during her time at Hopewell Middle School in Milton. Newkirk acknowledged the allegations, on their face, seemed horrible, but said Georgia law protected teachers who were disciplining students.
The news headways to August 2014 whereas the parents revealed the Public Service Announcement which will feature “Betty White Off Their Rockers” co-star Reatha Grey.
The organization plans on bringing awareness to children with disabilities that may have been abused in public and or private schools. The non profit is also working diligently to pass the Aaron Hatchers Law, which would mandate cameras to be installed in the classrooms of disabled youth in Georgia.
To support the movement please visit Change.org and sign the Aaron Hatchers Law.
‘Like’ Justice for Aaron Hatcher on Facebook
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