• Video shows special education teacher beating student

    By: Tom Jones


    ATLANTA - A teacher's video of a special education student being beaten in class has led to the arrest of a teacher's aide.
    Parents said the video shows a paraprofessional assaulting students and they want her arrested.
    It happened at Harper-Archer Middle School in northwest Atlanta in February.
    Paraprofessional Alger Coleman was arrested, and faces child cruelty and simple battery charges.
    Channel 2’s Tom Jones was going to interview the mother of the student Coleman is accused of abusing, but after she got a glimpse of the video she became emotional and couldn't continue.
    The mother of another student who was mistreated was able to talk about what happened.
    "I was heartbroken. I was very heartbroken," she said after learning about the abuse involving her 11-year-old autistic son by a teacher's aide. "I really couldn't believe the school was letting this go on," she said, not wanting to be identified because of the sensitivity surrounding the allegations.
    While Coleman was charged, a second paraprofessional wasn't. That didn't sit well with the victims' parents.
    "I want her charged. Yes. Today. Like seriously, today," the 11-year-old's mother said.
    This all  began after a special education teacher says school administrators refused to believe her when she said the aides were mistreating students. Then she got an idea.
    "If they don't believe me verbally, maybe I should set up a video," she said.
    The teacher didn't want to be identified out of fear of being blackballed by other school districts. She voluntarily left Atlanta Public Schools after the incident.
    That's when she says she recorded Coleman repeatedly assaulting the student, while the second aide sometimes egged him on.
    The parents' attorney, Terance Madden, says the school shouldn't have ignored the teacher's claims. "By doing that, APS, that school, that principal have failed these children," he said.
    The parents are grateful for the teacher and her hidden camera.
    "She's a very good Samaritan, (because) I wouldn't have never knew," she said.
    APS spokeswoman Kimberly Green sent a statement when asked for a response about the allegations, saying, "Your specific questions concern pending personnel matters and APS cannot comment on such matters. However, Atlanta Public Schools can confirm that Alger Coleman is no longer with the district and Ms. Smith has been reassigned pending a disciplinary conference. The safety and security of our students remain a top priority for Atlanta Public Schools. The district takes all complaints seriously and reporting behavior that is harmful to our students is everyone's responsibility."
    The parents plan to file a lawsuit.

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