Tag Archives: Teacher

Special Ed Teacher Arrested For Sticking Autistic Boy Head First In Trash Can

By Eric Owens

A special education teacher at a Georgia elementary school was arrested on Monday for allegedly sticking a young autistic boy in a trash can — head first.

The incident occurred on April 30 at Mount Bethel Elementary School in the suburban sprawl north of Atlanta.

The unidentified second-grade boy was participating in an after-school program at the taxpayer-funded school at the time, local Fox affiliate WAGA-TV reports.

According to an arrest warrant for the teacher, Mary Katherine Pursley, the boy had come in from outside “screaming” about a second boy hassling him in some way. He “wouldn’t calm down.”

Pursley, whose actual teaching role that day is not clear, appeared and told the boy he could end up like Oscar the Grouch.

“If he had trashy behavior like Oscar, he’d go to the trash can,” Pursley explained to the autistic boy, according to the warrant.

[bctt tweet=”“If he had trashy behavior like Oscar, he’d go to the trash can,””]

The boy’s behavior presumably did not change because, next, police say, Pursley picked the boy up by the legs and slowly dropped him into the trash can, until he was in up to his shoulders, despite the boy’s pleas that she stop.

As an aside, Oscar the Grouch is a green, ill-tempered Sesame Street character who lives in a trash can and enjoys trash immensely. Of critical importance, however, Oscar rises head up from his trash can residence. The Muppet’s feet are very rarely seen, however, and no one ever dangles them over a trash can.

Three school employees witnessed Pursley’s actions, police believe.

The single count against the 21-year-veteran teacher is cruelty to a child. It’s a first-degree felony.

After her arrest, she paid a $5,000 bond and was released from custody.

A school district spokeswoman, Jennifer Gates, provided a lengthy comment explaining that the district had no comment.

“It is a personnel matter and no comment can be given,” Gates told The Marietta Daily Journal.

“Safety and security of Cobb students continues to be our No. 1 priority,” she added. “Our attention is on making every remaining day of school for our students safe, healthy, engaging, meaningful and focused on academic excellence.”

Meanwhile, school officials have placed Pursley on administrative leave. With pay.

She makes $68,230 annually.

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Four Schools Placed on Lockdown Over Teacher’s Pirate Costume

On Friday, September 19, four North Carolina elementary schools were placed on lockdown after reports emerged that an armed suspicious person had been seen on campus. Under the hazy fog of hysteria, rumors circulated that the person in question had been carrying a gun. However, according to WITN-TV, investigators recently announced that the lockdown had been prompted by a 10 AM report by a cafeteria worker at Richlands Elementary who had seen one of the school’s teachers entering the building dressed like a pirate and wearing a plastic sword at his hip. The teacher wore the costume to celebrate “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” with students.

WCTI-TV 12 notes that the three other schools that were locked down over the teacher’s costume were Richlands High School, Richlands Primary, and Trexler Middle School. Law enforcement officers, equipped with K-9 units, descended upon all four schools, scouring the buildings for what was at the time assumed to be a suspicious person about to carry out a school shooting. A Trexler Middle School student told WITN-TV, “It was terrifying… I didn’t know what was going on … we were all huddled up in a corner.” Early rumors began to spread like wildfire, leading to the dissemination of misleading details such as reports that the suspicious person was carrying a gun and wearing camouflage pants and an olive shirt.

However, investigators could not find anyone suspicious at the schools, and an exhaustive review of surveillance video turned up no leads as well. After three hours, the lockdowns were lifted. According to WNCT-TV 9, Onslow County Schools spokesperson Suzie Ulbrich said, “We have this new psy lock system… there was an immediate lockdown done of the school and check in with all the teachers to make sure to make sure everybody was safe and secure. Law enforcement of course came to the scene.”

Onslow County Sheriff’s Office representative Jerry Morse told WCTI-TV 12, “After a thorough review of this incident, it has been determined that school personnel working in conjunction with law enforcement agencies handled the situation in a very professional manner and followed all protocols to the letter.”

On Tuesday, September 28, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department announced that the report of a suspicious person was a case of mistaken identity, as a cafeteria worker had confused a plastic sword from a teacher’s pirate costume for a gun. Authorities concluded that the teacher was not a threat and that nothing malicious had been intended by the costume.