— Matthias Gafni (@mgafni) January 7, 2016
A teacher’s aide in a California school for students with emotional disabilities was arrested Wednesday after videos were released of her striking a 9-year-old student.
The Contra Costa Times, which linked to the Snapchat video showing a student being held by two other people and being struck in the face, reported that Kamaljot Kaur of Antioch was arrested on charges of felony child abuse. She works at Tobinworld 2, also in Antioch.
The Tobinworld schools are named after Tobin Weber, the son of school founder Judith Weber. Tobin Weber has autism, and the school’s website explains that Judy Weber founded the school in 1977 in order to create a better academic program for him and students who had similar needs. There are now three Tobinworld schools, the original in Glendale and two in Antioch.
The newspaper reported that the police were called to the school Wednesday by administrators, who told them that video of an assault was circulating online. The newspaper reported that another employee at the school took the videos.
In a statement to the newspaper, Weber said that the school suspended two staff members and was investigating the case. The student was uninjured and was in class on Wednesday, Weber said.
The Tobinworld schools receive funding from school districts that place students there. Two of the campuses were already under investigation before this incident because of problems such as having unlicensed staff and for lying to state monitors. That probe was prompted in 2015 by a parent who said her 7-year-old son had been pinned to the ground at the school, bruising him and bloodying his nose.
The schools were also censured for employing Matthew Israel, the founder of the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Mass., as a staff member, even though he lacks the appropriate state credentials. The Rotenberg Center has come under intense scrutiny because of its reliance on electric shock devices to control its students, who, like the students at Tobinworld, have emotional and behavioral disabilities and are enrolled in the school by their home districts. The Tobinworld program has said it does not use such devices with its students.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.