Teacher Accused of Repeatedly Locking 8-Year-Old Special Needs Student in Locker

The Upper West Side teacher’s aide at Mickey Mantle Elementary School was fired from his job, but now the child’s mother is suing the New York City Department of Education for $1 million for the “vile and abhorrent” incidents. 

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As it turns out, a “bully” who cruelly and recurrently locked a special needs 8-year-old boy in a school locker was a teacher, and although paraprofessional Jeremy Turner has been fired, the boy’s mother is seeking $1 million from the New York City Department of Education for the horrible incidents, the New York Post reports.

An outraged Yaashia Harris learned about her son’s distress in January, and Turner was fired from Mickey Mantle Elementary School in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. The 31-year-old Brooklyn native was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault, unlawful imprisonment and injuring a minor, the Post reports. However, Harris is not letting her son’s school deflect accountability, accusing it of not protecting her son.

According to court papers, Harris claims that her son was “so terrorized while locked in the locker—screaming, frantically punching the locker in an effort to get out—that when I took him to the hospital, they diagnosed that he had fractured his right ring finger.”

The deadline for Harris to file her lawsuit has passed, but the New York mom is requesting permission to do so now due to “law office mistake and error,” the Post reports.

In her filing, Harris described how Turner used this method of punishment, often putting her son in the locker for up to 15 minutes, sometimes multiple times a day. This despite the fact that the boy continued to yell and scream and hit against the door. It was the latest incident on Jan. 27 that led to his finger being fractured.

According to the New York Post, school reports indicate that Harris’ son was put in the locker after he misbehaved, drawing on his face with marker and kicking another teacher.

According to Harris, this method of punishment was also used on at least three other children.

“If, as the kid said, he had done it before, other teachers must have seen it, someone knew something,” the family’s attorney, Mitchell Shapiro, told the Post.

The child is currently at another school and is going through trauma counseling, the Post reports.

Read more at the New York Post.