Rockdale County

Parents of boy with autism allegedly assaulted by Conyers teacher don’t believe it’s the first time

CONYERS, Ga. — A special education teacher at a Conyers elementary school was arrested after she was accused of assaulting two of her 5-year-old students.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was there as the parents of the students with special needs and their attorneys held a news conference on Friday.

The parents have seen a video of the incident at C.J. Hicks Elementary School that appears to show Janice Foot, 58, using physical force to punish the students for previous behavior.

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“She observed Mrs. Foot forcibly pushing students heads down to the desk, with her hand on their neck numerous times so that the students would not move,” attorney Stephen Fowler said. “Mrs. Foot was also shown grabbing the students and putting them into a corner in a very physical and disturbing nature while yelling at them at the same time.”

The families say their children have autism and are non-verbal, so they can’t tell them what happens at school.

“It just makes me feel like the protection wasn’t there for my child,” father Marcus Thomas said.

The parents said that after watching the video, they don’t believe it’s the first time this has happened.

Rockdale County school administrators say Foot has been working for the district for five years. They ended her employment five days after the incident.

“I wanna know why it took so long to contact us about the incident and why it took us as parents to file police reports regarding this whole issue. It should’ve never even went that way,” father Darryl Harden said.


Foot was arrested on Wednesday, five weeks after a school security officer reported the alleged abuse.

Fernandes knocked on Foot’s door, but did not get an answer.

A neighbor was surprised to hear about the child cruelty charges.

“That is very disturbing, and if she’s doing what they say she’s doing to kids, she should have been arrested,” Robin Billingsley said.

Fernandes asked attorneys about the timeline of the incident and investigation, but they responded that they had to be careful while the investigation is ongoing.

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