Gilbert PD clears school employee of child abuse allegation - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas


Gilbert PD clears school employee of child abuse allegation

Courtesy: Barbara Canzona Courtesy: Barbara Canzona

Gilbert Public Schools has confirmed to CBS 5 News that a behavior tech accused of abusing a student is back on the job after police and internal investigations cleared him of any wrong-doing.

The man had been on paid administrative after a student's grandmother filed a report with the Gilbert Police Department when the child came home with bruises on his body.

Gilbert police said the behavior tech's use of force while restraining the 10-year-old was justified because the child was out of control and a danger to himself and others.

Jane Hecker, director of special education for Gilbert Public Schools, sent CBS 5 News this statement:

"The internal investigation into the incident that occurred at Gilbert Junior High School in our STEPS program mirrored the investigation conducted by the police department. It was found that the staff followed district restraint policy in dealing with the student. The student was engaging in dangerous behavior and required the restraint to keep himself and others safe. The only recommendation was to continue de-escalation training with the staff." 

Barbara Canzona said her grandson was sent home with bruises on his arm and back in early April.

"If I was to send a child to school like this, I would be sitting in the Fourth Avenue jail and CPS would be involved," she said. "You don't leave a child bruised like that. This is abuse. This is child abuse."

Canzona's grandson, of whom she has legal custody, was attending Gilbert Public Schools' STEPS program, a transitional school for children with learning disabilities and behavioral issues housed on the Gilbert Junior High School campus.

He said he was dragged out of class for not following directions and then assaulted in another room by a behavior tech he identified as "Mr. Josh."

"They got me by the arms and basically slammed me into the wall," explained the student who is 4' tall and weighs 70 pounds.

The child said the aide then threw him down onto a mat, squeezing his arm to the point it felt numb and left the man's handprint.

"This is unacceptable," Canzona said. "This was done by force. This was done out of anger. This person should not be working in an environment like this if they cannot control themselves."

She said the school didn't even bother to call her to tell her what happened. Or, if they did, they didn't leave a message.

"I expect them (students) to be in an environment, a safe environment, where there's no harm to them," Canzona said.

After calling the school's principal, Canzona filed a report with the Gilbert Police Department on Friday afternoon, and took her grandson to an emergency room for an evaluation.

"Am I out for revenge? No, I'm not," she explained. "What I'm out for is protection of other children, other children with these kinds of issues, in these types of schools."

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