DPS employee accused of physical abuse of 3-year-old student

DPS interim superintendent says steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again, meeting next week with Rosa Parks parents.

The parents of a nonverbal 3-year-old Rosa Parks Early Learning Center student are still seeking answers after a Dayton Public Schools paraprofessional hit the back of their child’s head hard enough to knock him to the floor and carried him upside-down by his legs down the hallway of the school in mid-August.

The parents of 3-year-old Braylen Tootle, Robert Tootle and Taneshia Lindsay, are working with local attorney Michael Wright to find out answers to what happened to their son, why the incident wasn’t immediately reported to the parents, and why the paraprofessional involved has not yet been arrested even though he was fired.

“There’s a lot of questions that are unanswered that we need to have answered,” Wright said.

Dayton Police said they have investigated had given the case to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office to consider charges. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said the case had been filed in Juvenile Court and the prosecutor’s office is currently reviewing charges.

Tootle said his son, who is autistic and nonverbal, can be challenging to work with. Like other autistic kids, he can try to escape his caregivers, and because he can’t speak, it’s hard for his parents to know what is happening sometimes.

Braylen’s parents said they were not immediately notified on the day of the incident. The principal did not tell them about the incident until pickup, which Wright said delayed medical care to Braylen. Child Protective Services was investigating the incident and told Lindsay to request the video, which she did, but she didn’t get it until earlier this week.

Lindsay said the man who assaulted her son, who hasn’t been named or charged, should have been arrested the same day of the incident. Lindsay and Tootle said they were told he was not immediately fired but suspended pending investigation.

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

They said they had felt support from other parents of autistic children along with other community members, but Lindsay said more needs to be done on a society level for kids like Braylen.

“If you look this stuff up, it happens all over the U.S.,” she said. “These kids get mistreated and we need help. Our kids need help. Society needs to be educated on autism, and they need to be trained to deal with these kids.”

Lindsay said she prepared a paper copy for Braylen’s teachers at Rosa Parks on his likes, dislikes, behaviors and tics.

She said she doesn’t blame Rosa Parks teachers, who she says have worked well with Braylen. Braylen is still attending the school and goes willingly with his teacher when he is dropped off, she said. Because Braylen was born during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many lockdowns prevented kids from socializing with one another, she said it is important for him to socialize with other kids and teachers in school, at least until she feels it’s unsafe for him to be there.

David Lawrence, DPS interim superintendent, said the district is taking additional measures to ensure all 2,300 employees are properly trained and qualified for their positions to prevent other incidents from happening in the future.

“Fitness for duty will be measured in terms of job qualification, training, and social-emotional health and well-being,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he planned to meet with Rosa Parks parents next week to discuss the incident, and the principal will share more details with families soon.

“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,” Lawrence said.

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