STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - Two DeKalb County educators are facing possible criminal charges after allegations of child abuse inside a special-needs classroom.
The family of Wesley Malone, a 14-year-old autistic student, said they questioned his teachers after noticing behavioral changes, including aggressiveness, as well as scratches and bumps on his face and head.
The family said the school brought in a specialist to observe Wesley’s classroom who witnessed the use of a thick broomstick handle to scare and discipline the teen.
“It hurts me. It tears me apart,” father John Malone said.
The family’s lawyer gave the report of the incident to Channel 2’s Tony Thomas. In it, the specialist outlines seeing Wesley, who cannot talk, disobey in class, and then the classroom paraprofessional lashing out.
“The parapro charges at Wesley and say to (the teacher), ‘Give me my broomstick,’” the report said.
“She’s slapping the broomstick on the table, she’s slapping it on the floor, she’s slapping it at him, she’s poking it at him,” attorney Chris Vance said.
According to the report, Wesley yelped and covered his head. According to the specialist’s report, the paraprofessional said, “This is what we have to do. We have to instill fear in him.”
“If they had the audacity to use a broom handle in front of a third party, what are they doing when someone isn’t there?” Malone said.
A DeKalb County Schools spokesperson said the paraprofessional involved resigned last week and the district is firing the teacher.
The District Attorney’s Office confirmed it was sent the case on Thursday.
Malone said he wishes his son could have told him earlier.
The Malone family and their lawyer are questioning why it took nearly a month for the district to act. They also do not believe school leaders reported the issue to state authorities properly.
“We take this issue very seriously. We care deeply for the safety and well-being of our children, and any action that might compromise them will absolutely not be tolerated,” a school district spokesperson said.