Genesee County teacher criticized for video of autistic student

By Guy Gordon, Local 4 Anchor, @newsGuy4, guyg@wdiv.com
Published On: Feb 26 2014 06:35:36 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 26 2014 08:22:49 PM EST

It was back in November that an eleven-year-old boy in a fifth grade class got stuck in a chair. His teacher, Nicole McVey, recorded the moment on her cellphone.

GOODRICH, Mich. -

There are differing views in the Genesee County village of Goodrich about the actions of a teacher at Oaktree Elementary School.

It was back in November that an eleven-year-old boy in a fifth grade class got stuck in a chair. His teacher, Nicole McVey, recorded the moment on her cellphone.

That moment continued for more than 10 minutes, as the boy struggled to extricate himself from the chair. The teacher can be heard asking the boy how he got into that situation.  At another point, she asks if he wants to get Tasered.

Patrick Greenfelder, an attorney representing the boy's parents, said the teacher's actions were uncalled for.

"He's in clear distress, stuck in his chair, There's a lack of compassion," Greenfelder said.

The school's principal entered the classroom and seeing what was going on, referred to it as a non-emergency.  The principal resigned a short time later.

Even after the video was shown, many parents appeared at a school board meeting to defend the teacher, saying she is not mean-spirited and was using the situation as a teaching moment.

"She taught the children compassion," one parent said.

Another parent spoke up for the teacher.  "She is a very good teacher. She would never jeopardize or bully anyone."

Patrick Greenfelder, attorney for the student's parents, said the fact the teacher and principal shared the video with people outside the school systems raises questions about a teaching moment.

"And then sending this video or replaying it after the fact is indefensible," Greenfelder said.

Teacher Nicole McVey, who reportedly agreed to take on the student for a second year after other teachers said they did not want him, is still on the payroll, although not in the classroom.

The school board voted late last year to fire her, but she remains on a paid leave while going through private tenure hearings.

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