The Aldine Independent School district on Thursday announced it has fired three teacher aides who were seen on video watching as an 11-year-old student with autism was being attacked by a fellow schoolmate. According to KHOU 11, the incident occurred at Jones Middle School. And the video of the assault was shared by the autistic boy’s grandmother and local advocates last Tuesday.
The 11-year-old, identified as Sekai, is a non-verbal special needs student. In the wake of the incident, Sekai’s grandmother, Veda Cavitt, slammed the school aides and demanded they be held accountable for their actions.
“Those adults in that video stood there. They did not attempt to help my child get up off the ground. They did not offer him any assistance. They didn’t even check to see if he was injured,” Cavitt said.
In Thursday’s statement, the district said the boy who attacked Sekai was also a special needs student. The district also stated that it trains its workers “in nonviolent crisis intervention techniques.”
“The incident at Jones Middle School between two special needs students on January 25 is sad and deeply concerning,” the district said, adding that the aides in question were fired “upon further review” of the incident.
In the video of the incident, Sekai is seen accidentally walking into the student before he retaliates by physically attacking the much smaller 11-year-old. Besides pushing Sekai to the ground, the student is also seen kicking him. The student then goes ahead to punch Sekai after he gets up. The 11-year-old sixth-grader falls back on the ground as a result.
An adult is then seen tapping the aggressive student before the student goes ahead to repeatedly kick Sekai while he’s crawling on the ground. “This little boy was three-times smaller than this big kid that was allowed to punch, hit, kick and stump this mother’s child,” local activist Quanell X said during a news conference last Wednesday.
“How can other special needs mothers send their children back to this school knowing the same paraprofessionals are standing in the same classrooms?”
As a result of the attack, Cavitt said her grandson missed school for two days. At the time of the story, KHOU 11 also reported medical professionals were evaluating the 11-year-old to ascertain the injuries he suffered from the attack.
“The district trains paraprofessionals in nonviolent crisis intervention techniques at the beginning of each school year, and will reinforce that training during the remainder of this year,” the statement from the district also said.
“As such, the district expects everyone to conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates the proper regard for others and does not tolerate behavior that infringes on the safety and emotional well-being of any student or staff member.
“Our district leaders will continue to work together to find solutions which provide a safe, healthy and nurturing learning environment in our schools in order to support academic achievement, respectful interactions and engagement.”