BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Four staffers at a Brownsburg elementary school, who investigators say told a 7-year-old student to eat his own vomit or failed to report the incident, have now been terminated or have resigned from their position with the school.
At a Brownsburg Community School Corporation meeting on Monday night, the school board approved the termination or resignation of four staffers involved in a lunchroom incident where a special-needs student was mistreated and subjected to eating his own puke.
The staffers were identified as:
- Life Skills teacher Sara Seymour, 27
- Life Skills instructional aide Debra Kanipe, 63
- Life Skills teacher Julie Taylor, 48
- Life Skills instructional aide Kristen Mitchell, 38
Meghan King, a 24-year-old registered behavioral technician working for Kids Count, was also criminally charged. However, she is not a BCSC employee and therefore cannot resign from or be terminated by the school.
“What happened at Brown Elementary is the worst treatment of a student by individuals given a responsibility to provide care,” BCSC Superintendent Jim Snapp said during the meeting Monday.
In addition to losing their positions at the school, all four staffers and King also face criminal charges for their roles in the incident. For more information on those charges, click here.
A sixth adult, a Brown Elementary staffer who has not been criminally charged but that BCSC said did not report the incident, has also submitted a letter of resignation. That letter was not received in time to be processed during Monday’s meeting and will be discussed at the June board meeting.
According to the Brownsburg Police Department, Seymour advised a 7-year-old Life Skills student that, if he vomited, he would have to eat whatever he threw up.
The child, on a tray provided by Taylor, indeed vomited, at which point Kanipe provided the child with a spoon.
Seymour and Kanipe stood on either side while the boy ate a portion of the vomit, police said. The child then used paper towels to clean up what remained. Mitchell and King witnessed what happened.
According to the probable cause affidavit, video showed the incident and the involvement of the five staff members. None of them reported what happened.
“An individual who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect has to make a report immediately,” said Jody Madeira, IU Bloomington Professor of Law.
“It really is any action that makes us go ‘uhhhh’ that gut instinct whether it seems to be a bad teaching moment or a bad parenting moment. We really aren’t the ones who should make that decision it is DCS,” said Maderia.
Madeira says Indiana has extensive mandatory report laws. That means, every Hoosier is a mandatory reporter.
“You are looking for is failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or supervision,” said Madeira.