Family sues school district after teacher dragged boy with autism

A Clarksville teacher is accused of dragging a student with autism out of the classroom.

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. - Surveillance footage from the hallways of St. Bethlehem Elementary School shows a teacher dragging a student out of class.

Kindergarten teacher Bonnie Conn dragged a boy out of her classroom by the arm. She then used her foot to keep the child out. The child is also diagnosed with autism.

After being dragged into the hallway, the young boy was alone, crying and holding his head that had been hit by the door.

"I don't know how a parent can look at this and not feel rage or concern that this would happen," the attorney for the boy's family, Larry Crain, said.

This was the second time the incident occurred. The first one happened four days prior.

"These people are just walking by. This teacher apparently sees it and does nothing about it," Crain said.

Crain is now suing the school district on the family's behalf in federal court. They allege the six-year-old's rights were violated through the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Our sister station, WSMV in Nashville, attempted to contact the school district. The district declined the request for an interview.

Spokesperson Elise Shelton released a statement saying:

                           "CMCSS is committed to providing a safe environment conducive to learning for all                              our students."

"Schools are the last place you would ever expect a disabled child to be physically abused by a teacher," Crain said.

WSMV's I-Team also recently revealed that out of 60 midstate schools, students with disabilities received corporal punishment more than their peers who do not have disabilities.

Gov. Bill Haslam spoke out about his concern.

"I think there needs to be consequences to keep this momentum going that's going in Tennessee to try and get a change in the law to help these children," Crain said.

Rarely are these incidents ever captured on camera. It has this child's family worried and wondering what else is happening.

"Fortunately there were cameras outside this teacher's room. That's not always the case," Crain said.

Conn began working for Clarksville Montgomery County schools in 2005. She was placed at an alternative work site in February. She resigned six days later.

Clarksville police are also involved. Their criminal investigation remains open. 

© 2017 NBCNEWS.COM


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