The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local News

April 7, 2010

Mom claims 29th Street teacher pushed son, then her

ACS says complaint resolved

ANDERSON, Ind. — Jennifer Cox’s third-grade son Adrian Duarte was sullen when he came home from school on Monday. He told her that a teacher pushed him against a locker at school, so the mother scheduled a meeting the next day with the teacher and the principal at 29th Street Elementary School.

“To prove his point, Mr. (Brian) Ellis shoved me, to prove that it didn’t hurt,” Cox wrote in an e-mail sent to The Herald Bulletin, school board members and ACS administrators.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Cox said that Anderson Community Schools officials have concluded there was no wrongdoing, a claim that ACS officials confirmed.

“Nobody seems to care that a teacher has done this to my child,” Cox said. “The teacher took his hand and shoved me in the shoulder and said ‘this is all I did to him’ ... This man is over six feet tall and over 200 pounds. My son is 71 pounds. I’m sure it hurt my son when he got pushed.”

Ellis did not return telephone messages seeking comment on Wednesday.

Cox said the incident involving Adrian started when students were returning to class from lunch, and a classmate began taunting Adrian and calling him names. She said Adrian, a special-needs student, then began to walk on the heels of the child in front of him, drawing the alleged physical contact from the teacher.

Adrian has been diagnosed with a disruptive disorder and as bipolar, Cox said. But she said he has thrived at school this year with the help of his regular teacher, who she said was not in class on Monday. “He’s almost on the honor roll. He hasn’t gotten sent to the office except maybe one time,” she said.

But Cox kept Adrian at home on Wednesday. “He doesn’t want to go back to school.”

“I’m not saying my son’s an angel, but I don’t think he deserves a teacher hurting him,” she said. She said the teacher “had numerous options available to him” to discipline the child without physical contact.

ACS officials deny that the incident constituted abuse. “There’s no evidence to support that,” said Beth Clark, manager of schools, programs and personnel for ACS.

Clark and  29th Street Elementary principal Becky Bolaños cast doubt on Cox’s version, though neither denied that contact took place between the teacher and the student, and later, the teacher and the parent.

Bolaños said that because of confidentiality issues, she could not discuss specific details of the incident. She filed a report with Clark and ACS Superintendent Felix Chow, in line with school district protocol, Clark said.

“I felt it was resolved and I really believe it’s been resolved,” Bolaños said. “I  don’t think there was any particular wrongdoing.”

“I do believe her child is safe in our school and I do believe Mr. Ellis acted responsibly and I do believe Mrs. Cox is not happy” with the outcome of her investigation, Bolaños said. She said she disagrees with some of the word choices Cox made in describing the events, though she said she could not be specific.

Clark said that in Cox’s meeting with Ellis and Bolaños, the teacher touched the parent in some way as he “made a demonstration” of his contact with Adrian.

“The words that the parent  used are not the same as the teacher used,” in describing the teacher’s physical contact with Adrian, Clark said. Asked which words were different in describing the incident, she said, “I think that’s a little too specific.” She cited ACS policy of protecting confidentiality.

Clark said a copy of the summary of the investigation was being mailed to Cox.

“It’s still what I would call open if the parent chooses not to agree with the decision the principal has made,” Clark said. “I would anticipate there may be further review.”

ACS policy says teachers “have the authority to take such means as may be necessary to control the disorderly conduct of students.” Clark said that can include physical contact with students.

“The difference between allowable and best practice can sometimes be a very wide continuum,” she said.

Contact Dave Stafford: 648-4250, dave.stafford@heraldbulletin.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0421 - EASTER sunday3 - sh Mounds State Park at Easter part of long family tradition Many Madison County residents woke early on Sunday to attend Easter services. David Long was among them, only his sanctuary was the Woodland Shelter at Mounds State Park.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • NWS - HB0420 - CATS Buses-09 City to replace CATS fleet With 7-year-old city buses registering 250,000 miles, Anderson is looking to replace its aging transportation fleet.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0420 - Funderburk - 04 Man tries to restore father's tainted legacy at dental clinic

    When news broke earlier this month that the Anderson Dental Clinic had been shut down and several employees, including owner Sally Metzner, had been arrested, Mark Funderburk's main concern was the patients. "A lot of them kept going there because of my dad even after he passed away," he said. "And they didn't deserve this."

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0420 - FEMA Kokomo Flooding 03 FEMA’s disaster decisions frustrate state, local leaders FEMA denied the state’s request to declare a “major disaster” after tornadoes swept Indiana last November, despite millions of dollars in damages. The decision prompted protests from Indiana’s Congressional delegation, and it stoked growing frustrations with FEMA, especially in the Midwest.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • Wagons for Warriors asks for donations

    The Pendleton American Legion post is accepting donations for a project called Wagons for Warriors.

    April 19, 2014

  • Ellspermann, Susan Ellspermann to deliver AU commencement address Indiana Lt. Gov. Susan Ellspermann will address the Anderson University Class of 2014 during commencement exercises on Saturday, May 10.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0420 - Ellks - JC 2a Former Elks building being reborn Just months after it closed, the former Anderson Elks Lodge could be reopening as a banquet hall and catering service. The Anderson Plan Commission on Tuesday will consider a rezoning request from James D. Sargent and Nettie Cox to rezone the building from residential to industrial use.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0420 - egg drop - 30.jpg Helicopter aids in Easter egg drop

    Four months of planning was gone in about one minute on the Lapel football field Saturday as The River Church held its third annual Easter egg drop. Church pastor Tyson Priest found out more than 22,000 plastic eggs don’t last long when hundreds of local children are racing to pick them up as quickly as possible. But he didn’t seem to mind.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mounds State Park hosts birding weekend featuring live hawk Mounds State Park will go to the birds April 25-27 as the park hosts “Bird the Mounds.”

    April 19, 2014

  • Tim Kean: Can we have a 'A New State of Mind?' I have recently read some great articles about people coming together to make a difference in the lives of children facing food insecurity. The collective effort of a group can provide some much-needed food to kids who may not have a meal when they return home from school or during the weekend.

    April 19, 2014

March Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook