(Kings Mills, Oh,)--The parents of five handicapped students at Kings Local School District, have filed a federal lawsuit, alleging a former teacher repeatedly abused their children and are seeking compensatory, monetary and punitive damages against the district.
Amy and Michael McClellan called in to the Scott Sloan Show on 700 WLW Tuesday, saying their daughter Hanna who suffers from Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation (CDG-1A) was abused at Columbia Elementary School during the 2010-2011 school year.
The Lawsuit alleges that former teacher Amanda Kitcho screamed at her students, threw away their possessions, took away their food or deprived them of snacks, and lied to the parents. Two district employees, Principal at Columbia Elementary School Shelley Detmer-Bogaert and Former principal Jerry Gasper are also facing allegations of failing to notify police of the alleged abuses, as required by law.
The McClellan’s say they first found out about the alleged abuse, after Local Attorney Chris Finney called the family.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation of the abuse allegations, but no one was ever indicted. Michael McClellan says, after the phone call from Finney it took a long time to get the depositions "the school never, never, reached out to us."
In the lawsuit the parents say that a teacher’s aide reported Kitcho’s behavior to the school but nothing was done, and said she was told to ignore Kitcho’s alleged misconduct.
Amy McClellan said she noticed a change in Hanna’s behavior soon after she was placed in Kitcho’s class.
"I was there daily, picking up Hanna, and was lied to every single day, I couldn’t figure out, Hanna loved school she loved going to school and then she came to this classroom and it was a fight to get her to go, every day, when I would pick her up she was limp, and nonresponsive to me and she would say I hate going there I don’t ever want to go there again."
Amy said after the call from Chris Finney "the guilt hits me, and I was consumed, absolutely consumed with guilt that how did I miss this, how in the world I was their every day, I questioned and questioned, how did I miss it, how?"
The Ohio Department of Education investigated Kitcho, who has since resigned from her position with Kings Local School District, receiving full severance pay and the remaining balance on her teaching contract along with a positive recommendation.
Amy says "Hanna is working very hard to overcome what was done to her, she is in therapy, in three different kind of therapy and she is on the latter upward." The McClellan’s now live in Idaho and say Hanna who is in the 7th grade joined the cheerleading squad and has started to "let people in again" Hanna was also recently featured on the cover of an issue of the Idaho falls magazine.
A jury is being asked to review the case, to decide if damages should be awarded to the families.