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Tennessee elementary school principal fired by board for dragging 11-year-old autistic boy by the feet


Tennessee elementary school principal fired by board of trustees for dragging 11-year-old autistic boy by feet through school halls with teacher’s help after he got badly behaved

  • Helen Campbell was fired for “unprofessional conduct, conduct unbecoming, insubordination and dereliction of duty” from Walter Hill Elementary
  • Rutherford County Schools Superintendent Bill Spurlock said on Nov. 4, 2019, the student did not respond to a request from Campbell.
  • She then grabbed the student by the ankles and dragged him down the school hallway
  • The child was slightly injured. Campbell and teacher Bonnie Marlar have both been charged with child abuse
  • The charges were ultimately dismissed by a judge. Campbell and Marlar have been suspended and no decision has been made on Marlar’s status
  • Campbell’s termination was ultimately approved by a 5-2 vote, with one board member criticizing the decision. She can appeal the decision

The principal of a Tennessee elementary school has been fired two and a half years after a video emerged showing her dragging a special education student through the school.

Helen Campbell was fired for “unprofessional conduct, conduct unbecoming, insubordination and dereliction of duty” from Walter Hill Elementary in Murfreesboro on Thursday.

Rutherford County Schools Superintendent Bill Spurlock said on Nov. 4, 2019, the unnamed student did not respond to a request from Campbell.

She then grabbed the student by the ankles and dragged him down the school hallway 570 feet, the equivalent of the length of two football fields.

The child was slightly injured. Campbell and teacher Bonnie Marlar have both been charged with child abuse after Marlar helped drag the youngster out.

Helen Campbell was fired for “unprofessional conduct, conduct unbecoming, insubordination and dereliction of duty” from Walter Hill Elementary in Murfreesboro on Thursday

Tennessee elementary school principal fired by board for dragging 11-year-old autistic boy by the feet

Rutherford County Schools Superintendent Bill Spurlock said on Nov. 4, 2019, the student did not respond to a request from Campbell. She then grabbed the student by the ankles and dragged him down the school hallway

Tennessee elementary school principal fired by board for dragging 11-year-old autistic boy by the feet

Stills from that security video showed Campbell and Marlar dragging the child by the arm of a chair, grabbing him by his belt and dragging him by his wrists before dragging him down the hall by his ankles.

Tennessee elementary school principal fired by board for dragging 11-year-old autistic boy by the feet

Then they are shown grabbing the boy’s ankles and dragging him to the back of the school

The charges were ultimately dismissed by a judge. Campbell and Marlar have been suspended, and no decision has been made about Marlar’s future with the school.

Spurlock accused Campbell of trying to destroy evidence, saying she tried to delete security footage from school cameras.

Campbell did not contest the charge and was placed on probation for a misdemeanor charge.

She entered the same plea, securing a conviction but not admitting guilt, to a charge of negligence.

During a school board meeting on Thursday night, stills from this security video showed Campbell dragging the child by the arm of a chair, grabbing him by his belt and dragging him by the wrists.

Next, they are shown grabbing the boy’s ankles and dragging him to the back of the school. They dragged him a total of 570 feet.

Tennessee elementary school principal fired by board for dragging 11-year-old autistic boy by the feet

Campbell and Bonnie Marlar (pictured) have been suspended and no decision has been made on Marlar’s status

Tennessee elementary school principal fired by board for dragging 11-year-old autistic boy by the feet

County Schools Superintendent Bill Spurlock (pictured left) accused Campbell of trying to destroy evidence, saying she tried to delete security footage from school cameras and recommended that she pull.

A member of the school, Tammy Sharp, pleaded on Campbell’s behalf, saying she was “phenomenal” in her work and said she was convicted in a court of public opinion.

‘None of us on this advice have spoken to Miss Campbell. We don’t know this student’s background, we don’t know what his issues were,” Sharp said. “I think it’s disgusting and I’m sure our teachers who deal with issues like this every day have a shiver down their spines today and they’re looking for more jobs.”

A special needs student administrator for the school district spoke at the meeting

“I saw the video from beginning to end. I did not see any behavior that constitutes emergency behavior, dragging the student from the front to the back of the building to the common room, near of two football pitches is not an IPC technique and is not an appropriate restraint.

Campbell’s termination was ultimately approved by a 5-2 vote. She can appeal the decision.

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