Atlanta teachers caught on video abusing special needs students

Alger Coleman and Keisha Smith
Keisha Smith and Alger Coleman

Children who have been diagnosed with special needs are the most vulnerable in a school setting. This was played out recently at Harper-Archer Middle School an Atlanta, where two adult teaching assistants were caught physically abusing a student on camera. The educators involved are Keisha Smith and Alger Coleman.

In the video, a student is choked, pushed, slapped and thrown into a chair in full view of the other students. The student actually falls out of his chair after the assault and pushed back in the chair and slapped in the head. But this was not the first time the physical abuse of these students had occurred. Another teacher in the classroom set up a hidden camera to record the activities in the classroom. This teacher prefers to remain anonymous and is being identified only as Ms. J.

According to Ms. J, she had previously reported the abuse to her principal and school district administrators in August at the start of the school year but no investigation was initiated.

Because many of these students are non-verbal, emotionally underdeveloped or even physically disabled, the abuse went on for many months as the students were unable to tell their parents they were being abused.

Alger Coleman was arrested by police and charged with battery and child cruelty. Law enforcement had to force their way into his house to make the arrest. The other teacher involved, Keisha Smith, has not been charged by police, but was reassigned pending a disciplinary hearing. The Atlanta Public School system has refused to comment at this time because it is an ongoing investigation. As for the parents whose students may have been abused, they may have little recourse for legal action against the school system because it is protected by sovereign immunity.

Acting superintendent Erroll Davis stated that his office did receive the video several weeks ago but did not look at the video until recently. Davis apologized to the parents and stated that, “I made it clear when I started here three years ago that no one who has done harm or cheated children will be left in front of children. They forfeit that right until they are cleared.”


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Watch this video
What's new
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x