Child with Cerebral Palsy Abused in Atlanta

The parents of a boy with cerebral palsy have filed a child abuse lawsuit against Atlanta school teachers alleging that they battered and assaulted their disabled son, which led to his death.

According to Courthouse News, Ronald and Arthalia Hatcher allege that their disabled son Aaron suffered abuse at the hands of special education teachers Melanie Pickens and Katherine Dorn Durden. Their son had cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and other injuries that made it difficult for him to walk, speak, or care for himself.

Instead of receiving the constant supervision and care that he needed, the Hatchers claim that Ms. Pickens verbally, physically and emotionally abused their son and other special needs students in her classroom.

“Ms. Pickens' conduct was investigated and her treatment of students was known to the school board. Nevertheless, plaintiffs were not made aware by the Fulton County School District of the abuse suffered by their son,” the lawsuit states. 

The family further claims that when they transferred Aaron to a different school he began to experience abuse from Durden, his new teacher.

“While in Mrs. Durden's class, Aaron came home with bruises on his back and hands, making it clear that he was not being properly secured in his chair,” the lawsuit says.

The Hatchers also allege that Durden constrained their son’s neck with a makeshift neckbrace, and that he had to be rushed to the hospital because of the child abuse on numerous occasions.

"Defendants knew or should have known that defendant Melanie Pickens had no training or other credentials equipping her to teach students with severe special needs and that she was routinely and systematically abusing the children in her classroom," according to the lawsuit.

Other defendants named in the child abuse lawsuit include the Fulton County School Board, the Fulton County School District, Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa and 15 other Fulton County public school employees.

If your child has experienced abuse or neglect, contact Sokolove Law for a free legal consultation.


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