ONLY ON FOX: Special needs student abused, more calls for camera - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

ONLY ON FOX: Special needs student abused, more calls for cameras in the classroom

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Presley Villareal is 14 years old, has deep intellectual challenges and will likely never be able to tell those who love her that someone is doing her harm.
 "I let my guard down," said Nikki Villareal, Presley's mother.
 Presely's parents entrusted the special needs educators at Cypress-Fairbanks ISD's Smith Middle School with her care and protection.
 No easy thing when your child is absolutely vulnerable.
 Last fall the Villareals began detecting changes in their little girl.

 "Very agitated, very upset. She's dropped a lot of weight," said Nikki of her child who suffered brain damaging seizures during her first two years of life.

 The Villareal's figured there was reason for concern, but hardly alarm until the call came.
  On the other end of the phone, Becky Spurlock, a mother of six and a former teacher's aid in Presley's special ed. classroom.
 ""Somebody has to come forward. Somebody has to protect these kids from what's going on in this classroom," said Becky.
 The disturbing account she delivered  is the stuff of heartache.

 "She lost it every day, every day she lost it, and she lost it on one of the students," said Spurlock who was talking about a fellow para-professional named Tiffany Patterson.

 "Just screaming and calling them names, calling them idiots," said Spurlock.

 According to Becky Spurlock it was a daily onslaught of verbal humiliation tolerated by the classroom teacher and far too often escalating into what she calls painful, physical and potentially criminal abuse.

 Presley Villareal, the teenager with the mental capacity of a two year-old, was allegedly a principle target.

 "She picked her up by the wrist and by the ankle she raised her into the air and threw her down," said Spurlock.

 The attack, according to Spurlock and other witnesses, was not an isolated one.

 "Slamming her down, pushing her to the ground, grabbing her helmet by the edge and slinging her backwards. I left the room in tears," said Spurlock.
 Instead of calling police or Child Protective Services, Spurlock on Nov. 16th reported  Patterson to her principal at Smith Middle School, Susan Higgins.

 "You've got to do something today. You've got to get her out of there. I mean she is abusing the kids," Spurlock claims she told Higgins.

 Instead of contacting CPS and the parents of the special needs students allegedly abused, principal Higgins did neither, claiming later that it was "just one persons word, against another".
 A month later, whistleblower Becky Spurlock was asked to resign her position at Smith Middle School.

 "They didn't do the right thing. They are going to have to do the right thing now, but if Becky didn't come forward and we didn't push the issue nothing would be done and it would be business as usual over there," sais Scott Villareal, Presley's father.
 Presley's parents have filed a criminal complaint alleging assault and believe there's been a cover-up at Smith Middle school.

 "It makes me sick, especially for a group of kids that can't speak for themselves," said Nikki.

 Cy-Fair ISD has responded by removing Tiffany Patterson from the campus and placing her on administrative leave.
 Principal Higgins has revised her findings and now contends  Patterson "verbally and physically mistreated at least four life skills students", a finding based on the eyewitness accounts of 8 different educators on her campus.
 The Villareals are demanding terminations, prosecutions and the installation of surveillance cameras in special needs classrooms.

 "That camera is there to make sure that one bad apple is removed. That's what that's there for," said Scott.

  A plea for an electronic witness that never tires and can't be fired.

 In documents obtained by Fox 26 Tiffany Patterson denies mistreatment of her students. Calls to her attorney were not returned. She has not been charged with a criminal offense.

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