Huffpost Education

Sharon Turbiak, Michigan Teacher, Accused Of Slapping, Grabbing, Force Feeding Students With Special Needs

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Jayden Gohl and mother Lauren Gohl.
Jayden Gohl and mother Lauren Gohl.

Sharon Turbiak, a teacher at Webster Elementary School in Michigan, has been fired following an internal investigation into allegations that she abused preschool students with special needs.

Turbiak has been at the school for 14 years and is appealing the decision, WXYZ reports. She has not been charged with a crime for lack of sufficient evidence and district parents are furious that school officials refuse to release findings from the investigation.

The teacher is accused of "slapping, grabbing and force feeding special-needs preschoolers in her classroom, among other unprofessional classroom management practices," the Observer & Eccentric reports.

Lauren Gohl, whose 4-year-old son Jayden has a brain abnormality called hydrocephalus, told WXYZ that any injury to Jayden's head can be life-threatening, since he has a device that has been surgically implanted in his brain. From the Observer & Eccentric:

Gohl said she was not told for almost two months about a March 5 incident involving her son, in which a social worker said she witnessed Turbiak grab her son by the top of his head, jerk it back “quite aggressively,” yell at him and continue to jerk his chin upward while pushing the top of his head back because he had thrown a toy.

Although Turbiak has denied allegations of abuse and wrongdoing, Gohl and other parents are still fighting for the report's release.

"What about my rights as a parent? I want and need to know what went on in the classroom," Gohl said.

The allegations against Turbiak come after numerous accusations across the nation that educators have mistreated students with special needs. Most recently in Florida, Osceola County teacher Pranee Andrus was accused of threatening to cut off students' tongues and dragging Phoenix Hanson, a 5-year-old boy with autism, across the floor.

In an April video that later went viral, Stuart Chaifetz of New Jersey reveals the severe verbal and emotional abuse suffered by his son Akian and inflicted upon the child by a classroom aide and teacher.

Chaifetz sent Akian to school with a wire to record actual school happenings after school officials told him that his son was having "violent outburst," which Chaifetz said was against his son's "sweet and non-violent" nature.

"I just knew I had to find out what was happening there," Chaifetz told the Associated Press. "My only option was to put a recorder there. I needed to hear what a normal day was like in there."

As a result of the incident, one school aide resigned, another was placed on leave and a substitute aide was not requested back to the school.

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