LAKE COUNTY, Fla .– Principals said a tutor at a Lake County school bragged about doing a so-called “Superman Carry” on a 6-year-old kindergarten student.
The two employees, a dean and a school tutor, resigned in lieu of their dismissal. The parents of the 6-year-old want to know why no local law enforcement agency is pursuing a criminal case in the matter.
They provided a copy of the video clips they received from the Lake County School District. In one video, you can see the student being pulled by the wrist, dragged down a staircase and down a hallway by a dean at Eustis Heights Elementary School. Then the school tutor grabs the student by the buckle of his belt and continues to drag him.
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According to the investigation report provided by Lake County Schools, a school tutor texted the principal of Eustis Heights Elementary School. It was a message he had received from another tutor at EHES school, and was sent to another tutor who does not work at the school, that he did the “superman carry and it went put a really good “wedgy” on the 6-year-old student. The school tutor explained that this involved lifting the student off the ground by holding the waist of the pants from behind with the student’s feet above the ground.
It was horrible for his parents to see.
“It breaks my heart because as a father I want to protect him (sighs) and know that I couldn’t, it hurts,” said Kevin Findley.
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And so far there is no video of what their son told them once he was in an office with the tutor and the dean.
“He said he was slammed in the chair and one of the guards squeezed his neck,” Marian C. Findley told Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones.
Prior to this March 8 incident, the Findleys had received calls from the school about their son’s behavior.
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He was described as defiant, sometimes running away when school employees tried to correct his behavior. His parents believe he was acting out of fear of those he thought could harm him.
“We don’t have any provocative problems at home with our son. We had meetings there at the school just to see what’s going on, ”Kevin said.
They later found out that similar problems happened to their son.
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“It’s happened more than once, let me be clear. The video they gave us, only four counts,” Marian said.
According to the investigation report, the principal expressed concerns about the way the dean and tutor treated the students, fearing they might be overly involved. Another employee said he saw the tutor apply force to pressure points on a student to “get their attention.” And once the dean said she had to remind the tutor that “they were dealing with children and not ghetto thugs.”
“Why is this verbiage used in a school? It baffles me, ”Kevin said.
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Two days passed before the Findleys learned of this incident. A district spokesperson said the following:
“We take student safety very seriously. When the manager was made aware of the allegations, she reviewed the situation and informed the parents the next day, called DCF as requested and informed our employee relations department. Employee Relations investigated and recommended the dismissal. The two employees resigned in lieu of the dismissal. Employee Relations reported the two people to the Florida Department of Education. An additional allegation was brought against another employee. An investigation into the alleged involvement of this employee is underway.
The DCF also reopened a case because parents reported it directly. We could not find immediate personal contact information or an attorney for the tutor or dean of the school. The Lake County State Attorney’s Office told us they did not pursue the case because Eustis’ police determined there was no probable cause.
Eustis police told us in a statement that the incident was investigated by detectives, the state prosecutor’s office was consulted and determined that there was no criminal intent and the case was closed.
“I don’t know why then there is clearly a video of my son being dragged around like a little rag doll,” Marian said.