News & Features » Street Talk (Old)

Henrico Teacher Under Investigation

comment
"Family issues" was the reason given for her departure, say those who were notified of the resignation.

Two of the school's teachers, as well as a nurse from an outside agency who visited the classroom, spoke with Style on the condition of anonymity. They say they and others documented and reported multiple incidents of Moore's inappropriate behavior in the past two years. Yet she was allowed to resign with no penalty, they say, and is continuing her career.

A spokeswoman for Henrico Public Schools says the administration cannot discuss personnel issues. Reached by telephone at her home, Moore says only, "I'm not giving you any comment."

The list of alleged incidents reported to administrators, beginning in November 2002, includes: hitting a child's hands, striking a child in the mouth, kicking a student's wheelchair, pulling a child by his jacket hood from a wheelchair to the floor and spanking a child. Moore also allegedly ate children's snacks, according to two former co-workers, and addressed her students with terms such as "retard" and "stupid."

A witness to some of the alleged incidents, who works outside the school system, says the CPS investigator asked her to withhold details about the case temporarily. But, she adds, "Whatever you heard, it's true."

Virginia law requires school administrators to report suspected abuse to the police and protective services. Yet despite multiple complaints, co-workers say, little was done. The teacher received a reprimand after slapping a child's hand a few years ago but was not disciplined further, they say. Because the children were young, aged 2 to 5, and many were unable to speak, few parents suspected something was awry, says one teacher, who worked in the same school for more than a year, and who asked not to be named.

That teacher says there are many frustrations that accompany working with very young disabled children. At that age, children with a range of disabilities — autism, Down syndrome, developmental delays, physical handicaps — are grouped together in classes and can be difficult to handle.

But that's no excuse for violent behavior, the teacher says: "You don't go to school and take it out on the kids."

— Melissa Scott Sinclair

Add a comment