When You Abuse Vulnerable People in Your Care

It’s hard for me to think of anything that bothers me more than when someone abuses a person who is unable to speak for them self or won’t be believed. Especially when they have accepted a job where they are supposed to care for that person.

The video above is so disturbing (story). A 10 year old special needs student is verbally and physically abused by two teacher’s aides. One aide twists the student’s arm violently, tells him that there “isn’t enough Jesus to fix you” and – most shocking of all to me – strikes him directly in the face as the other aide restrains him.

No One Would Have Known

The camera was set up because teacher’s noticed money missing from their purses. If not for that, this never would have been seen. Even if the special needs student had communicated it to someone, the aides almost certainly would have denied it and said he was making it up.

One of them even remarked, “Y’all don’t have a camera in here, do ya?” That betrays what they felt about their own actions. It’s just heinous, and it makes me angry.

They both received probation, for which they should be very grateful. Toward the end of the video, the female teacher is asked for comment and she declines. I can’t understand why she is smiling here and why there are giggles from her entourage. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t at least fake an attempt at contriteness.

They Can’t Have Another Chance

I’m very much pro-rehabilitation and think we have too many people in the prison system. But regardless of their punishment, these two should never again be in a role where they care for someone who is vulnerable. No day care centers, no schools, no nursing homes, no hospitals.

Once you cross that line of abusing someone in your care, that’s it for me. There are plenty of other professions. Find a new one.

Patrick O'Keefe

Managing online communities since 2000, I publish a collective of websites known as the iFroggy Network. I wrote the book Managing Online Forums and, as a public speaker, have presented for organizations like CNN, institutions like Australian National University and conferences like SXSW. More about me.

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