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APNewsBreak: Teacher suspended over boy in chair

  • Article by: MIKE HOUSEHOLDER
  • Associated Press
  • May 8, 2014 - 5:35 PM

DETROIT — A Michigan school district has withdrawn its efforts to fire a teacher over a video showing a student stuck in a classroom chair and instead is suspending her for a year.

The Goodrich Area Schools board was to meet in closed session Thursday evening to consider the settlement with Nicole McVey.

The video was recorded in November at Oaktree Elementary School and released to a TV station in February. On it, the boy is shown with his head and arms stuck in an opening in the back of the chair.

McVey and Principal Michael Ellis taunted the fifth-grader, who has Asperger's syndrome, according to Patrick Greenfelder, a lawyer for the boy's family.

Ellis has since resigned. McVey had been fighting the district's efforts to fire her.

According to Greenfelder, McVey can be heard questioning the boy about how he got stuck before asking, "Do you want to get Tasered?"

The boy is told that a maintenance crew is on the way to help, and Greenfelder has said Ellis is heard saying it's really "not an emergency in their book."

McVey apologized to the boy's parents in a letter obtained by The Associated Press. The AP is not identifying the boy or his parents.

McVey wrote that "there are no excuses or reasons or explanations for what happened.

"I made a significant mistake," her letter goes on to say. "You need to know that throughout this time my heart and my gut have told me that I was wrong."

McVey has spent 14 years in the district, which is about 40 miles northwest of Detroit.

"While words will never be able to take away what happened, they provide the only means that I have to request your forgiveness for betraying your trusts in me, and to let you know that I am truly sorry," her letter says. "I hope that you know I am not a bad person, but one who made a very bad series of choices on that day."

Greenfelder said in February that the boy suffered broken blood vessels in his eyes while trying to escape from the chair.

The video came to light after a staff member responsible for reporting bullying got ahold of it and informed administrators, said Greenfelder.

It later was shown to the boy's parents.

© 2014 Star Tribune