No charges for Boardman aide in stapling of boy
BOARDMAN — An aide with the Boardman Local School District resigned Friday after being accused of stapling a note to a child’s hair or head, the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office has confirmed.
Both the prosecutor’s office and the Boardman Police Department have concluded their investigation “of supplemental evidence obtained in the matter,” according to a news release from county Prosecutor Paul Gains.
Instead of pursuing criminal action, “prosecutors have secured an agreement that the teacher’s aide will immediately resign” with Boardman Local Schools, the statement reads.
The aide was not charged for allegedly stapling a reminder to a child, who is on the autism spectrum, at Boardman Center Intermediate School. The newspaper does not name uncharged suspects.
“While the evidence uncovered an egregious act of stapling a note to the child’s hair, the evidence does not support a criminal assault charge against the teacher’s aide,” the release states.
No puncture wounds were present on the child’s neck after “medical and other evidence” was recently obtained, “leaving the State without sufficient evidence that the teacher’s aide knowingly caused or attempted to cause physical harm to the child,” the statement reads.
Abrasions on the nape of the child’s neck were documented, although it “does not link that injury to the conduct of the teacher’s aide,” according to the news release.
On Jan. 20, a police report was filed by Sheli Myers, mother of the student, alleging that a note regarding a water bottle was stapled to his hair the day before.
While at school, part of the child’s daily routine includes getting a bottle of water from a teacher in the building. Both the boy’s teacher and aide made multiple requests that he bring his own water bottle, the police report stated.
Myers said in that same police report that her son does not forget to take a water bottle with him to school.
A statement from Myers’ attorney, Aimee E. Gilman of Agins and Gilman LLC, of Lyndhurst, was made public earlier this month, alleging the aide “stapled a piece of paper to this child’s head, not to his hair.”
Gilman also stated that schools Superintendent Tim Saxton “downplayed the severity” of the incident when he spoke with local media, stating that the aide did not mean to harm the child and was given a written warning.
There is only one letter of reprimand in the aide’s personnel file since coming to the district in 1997, stemming from the Jan. 19 incident. It was dated Jan. 21 by Boardman Center Intermediate School Principal Randy Ebie.
In that letter, a fact-finding meeting found that a reprimand was necessary once it was determined a paper was stapled to the child’s hair, and while inappropriate, it was not criminal.
During her time with the district, the aide held various positions including a special needs attendant, teacher aide and noontime aide.
The incident has spurred uproar as information has circulated through media and social media.
A protest over the incident is planned 5:30 p.m. Monday at Boardman High School, one hour before the board of education meeting.