A special education teacher with over 18 years of experience is now no longer at Magnolia Woods Elementary in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System after slapping a 6-year-old boy with autism in the face who was having a meltdown in class. An adult who was also in the classroom reported the situation immediately. The boy was left with multiple bruises on his face.

Shannon Plummer, the mother of the young boy told WAFB9 News “I think when I saw it, I was more in shock,” Plummer replied. “As a mother, it’s like I almost went numb. You have all these emotions. You want to get to the person. You want to cry because your child is in pain telling you that his face hurts.”

Growing up from my earliest days of severe autism I was prone to meltdowns as well but thankfully never had a teacher put their hands on me. We need to continue to make sure we have the best educators possible for our students to thrive. We also need to have a larger conversation though on how to handle meltdowns in a nurturing way whether it be providing sensory items to the student and/or simply showing compassion when the meltdown occurs.

As a public speaker when I go to speak in the schools as part of professional development I often say that it takes a village to support our students which includes acceptance and understanding from all faculty. With that I recommend Autism Speaks School Community Tool Kit which helps prepare school communities to support students with autism. You can download the kit for free here.

My thoughts are with the Plummer family.