NJ mom says teacher should’ve been fired for dangling child by the ankles
SOUTH ORANGE — A special education teacher has resigned amid an investigation into accusations she callously grabbed a 4-year-old nonverbal student with autism by his ankles and dangled him upside down.
The development came six weeks after mother Devena Wilkins first said school officials at the Montrose Early Childhood Center in South Orange informed her of the abuse in late March. Wilkins said her son Daylan had been held upside down in class shortly before dismissal and that he suffered cuts and bruises to other parts of his body.
Wilkins told New Jersey 101.5 on Monday that the accused teacher should not have even been given the chance to resign.
“This teacher being able to resign shows how much the district protects themselves before protecting our children. It took them over two months to address the situation and a resignation is a small response to a much bigger problem. She should not be in any classroom with students. Termination should’ve been the only answer," Wilkins said.
Ronald Taylor, superintendent of South Orange-Maplewood schools, announced the teacher's resignation earlier this month. In a statement, he said the teacher had been on paid suspension as required by state law since March 30.
"On May 11, the Board accepted the resignation of the staff member alleged to have engaged in improper conduct involving the student at Montrose," Taylor said. "The acceptance of the resignation concludes the employment relationship and avoids exposing the Board, staff, and students to any entanglement with efforts that could challenge a termination."
Taylor added that the school board will continue to cooperate with investigators and that the district could not provide more information due to confidentiality laws.
Robert Florida, spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, confirmed on Tuesday that the office's investigation remains active and ongoing.