Former Rosa Parks employee charged with assault of young student with autism

A former Dayton Public Schools paraprofessional who reportedly hit the back of a young nonverbal autistic student’s head has been charged.

Darrick T. Sorrells, 56, of Dayton, is facing one count of assault and two counts of endangering children, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. The assault charge is a fourth-degree felony and the endangering children charges are first-degree misdemeanors.

On Aug. 21, Sorrells was at Rosa Parks Early Childhood Learning Center pulling the student in a wagon when the 3-year-old boy reportedly got out and ran down the hallway.

Video surveillance shared by the family of the student, Braylen Tootle, showed Sorrells knocking the boy to the ground and picking him up by the ankles.

Another employee witnessed the incident and took the child from Sorrells, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“The video of this incident is disturbing and difficult to watch,” said Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. “It has generated a lot of outrage, both locally and nationally. Parents expect and deserve better from caretakers and should have confidence their children are safe from abuse when at school.”

Braylen’s parents, Robert Tootle and Taneshia Lindsay, said last week their son is doing OK and was still being monitored by a doctor. They also said Braylen was still at Rosa Parks.

Tootle and Lindsay said they weren’t aware of the incident until pickup and also claimed Sorrells was not immediately fired, but instead suspending pending an investigation.

“They shouldn’t have sent him home pending investigation,” Lindsay said. “He should have left that school in handcuffs.”

David Lawrence, DPS interim superintendent, previously said the district is taking additional steps to make sure all employees are properly trained and qualified for their positions.

“Fitness for duty will be measured in terms of job qualification, training, and social-emotional health and well-being,” Lawrence said. “… As a reminder, the safety of all students is our utmost priority, and we would like to thank families for their support as we work to ensure a safe school environment for all learners.”