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Delaware police investigating possible abuse of special needs students at elementary school

Special needs students attending a Delaware elementary school may have been abused inside the classroom by three teachers, and police are now investigating.

Special needs children at a Delaware elementary school may have been abused inside the classroom by three teachers, according to police.

Families in Smyrna, Delaware, met with school administrators after learning their special needs children may have been the victims of abuse inside the classroom.

Smyrna Police are investigating the possibility that three teachers at Smyrna Elementary engaged in professional misconduct. Police are working with the state Attorney General's Office Special Victims Unit, which is common for these kinds of investigations, according to Fox 29.

"Your child’s school is the last place you’d think something like this would ever happen," parent Leslie Thomas told Fox 29. "It has to be a different school. My son is traumatized, even turning on the street leading to Smyrna Elementary, so I could never force him to go somewhere where he was traumatized."


The Smyrna School District released a statement Wednesday saying a report was made on February 16 of possible professional misconduct.

"As part of our multi-faceted approach to keep our students safe, we have taken all precautions, including contacting law enforcement and providing alternative staff to instruct students," the statement said. "The investigation is active and on-going."

"While I cannot go into detail, due to the ongoing investigation, I can assure you that the professional misconduct being investigated is not sexual in nature," the district said in a follow-up statement. "District staff were at the school to support students, employees, and affected parents."

Some of the families spoke with police and were told the details of the allegations, including the children being locked in bathrooms and having objects thrown at them.


"They were being locked in the bathroom in the dark by themselves," parent Tierre Thomas told Fox 29. "Their hair was being pulled. Objects were being thrown at them. They were being put in timeout physically and being held there."

Leslie Thomas said she previously raised concerns to the district after observing changes in her son this school year. She and other parents are petitioning the district to move the students to another elementary school.

"We’re seeing aggression in him, hitting, something he has never done before. He flinches. He’s afraid of the dark. These are all behaviors he has never exhibited before but consistent with the allegations that have been made," she said. "Most of the parents have agreed on North Smyrna, so for right now I would like to see them create that setting and of course we all would like to see the charges coming very soon."

The police investigation could last several months.

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