Central Fla. teacher keeps job after no violation found in handling of autistic boy

Board votes video of special education teacher with 10-year-old student not violation


OCALA, Fla. – A special education teacher in Central Florida will keep her job, after the school board decided she did not violate policy regarding her handling of a 10-year-old autistic boy.

Tracey Newton, a teacher at Maplewood Elementary School, is shown on classroom video grabbing the boy by his wrists several times, and even grabbing his neck at one point.

The 94-minute video also shows her recording him misbehaving on her personal cell phone.

Superintendent George Tomyn sent the school board an official recommendation to have Newton fired; however, in a 3-2 decision, board members decided she did not violate policy.

"Teachers are supposed to call for help," said Kevin Christian, a district spokesperson, "She never called for help during the course of the video and never reached out to the adult in the classroom to even offer assistance."

Christian added that although she is keeping her job with the district, Tomyn does not want Newton in the classroom with children, and he will explore other options as to what position Newton will be given.

"I'm concerned that this may send the wrong message to people in our community, I'm concerned that people will get the idea that you could do whatever you want to students and not lose your job and that is absolutely not the case," he said.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Children and Families conducted their own investigations and found Newton would not be charged criminally.