Community voices concerns about treatment of Rosa Parks student

Some parents said they still feel confident in school while others said they don’t feel comfortable sending their kids in.

Rosa Parks Early Childhood Learning Center families had mixed feelings as they left a meeting Monday about a former paraprofessional caught on camera abusing a nonverbal autistic child at the school.

Dayton Public Schools held the meeting after many questions arose from families about the paraprofessional involved, who has not been named, and how the incident could have occurred.

In a video released by the family of the student, Braylen Tootle, the paraprofessional can be seen knocking Braylen to the ground and picking him up by his ankles. His family says Braylen is doing OK and being monitored by a doctor. He is still attending Rosa Parks.

Some parents of kids at the school said they were still distrustful of the school, while others felt they had been heard out.

Krichonna DeVance, a parent with a special needs child at the school, said she didn’t feel her questions had been answered by the end of the meeting. She said she wanted to know more about a second person in the video.

DeVance said her understanding was the paraprofessional hitting the student was only seen after a separate, unrelated incident was reported and camera footage was rewound. So she had questions about the second adult in the video not reporting the incident.

DeVance said she was planning to pull her son out of the school because she didn’t feel he was safe there.

“I did homeschooling for three years and we’re going back,” she said.

Another parent, Shy Moore, said she felt confident in her own kid’s teachers. But she said she still struggled with DPS not notifying parents of what had happened.

“My first time hearing it was on the news,” she said. “As a parent whose child goes here who is nonverbal, I felt like that notification aspect of it wasn’t there.”

Chrisondra Goodwine, Dayton Public Schools board president, said the incident, which occurred Aug. 21 at Rosa Parks, showed the district that they need to rely on more than just background checks. You need to look at people holistically, she said.

She also said making sure people who are hired to work in DPS are key to making families and students feel safe.

“Cameras are one thing, but people are the factor that helped us make sure not only our students are safe, our families feel secure with us, and that our staff are keeping each other accountable and reporting things properly,” Goodwine said.

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