Nearly there and a half years ago Diana O’Neill a Venice Elementary School teacher was accused of aggravated child abuse for “torturing, punishing or caging” some of her special education students. Her actions would have put you or me in jail and would have resulted in the removal of our children by DCF. She, however, is still working for the Venice School system and she still draws a salary of nearly $80,000 a year.
In 2008 Ms O’Neil was accused the following actions:
- Backhanding a small girl who had areas of bone missing in her skull.
- Ripping a washcloth our of a student’s mouth with enough force to take a tooth with it.
- Slapping, hitting and kicking students.
- Pushing students down and then laughing at them.
- Hitting students on the head with a “board”.
- Hitting students on the head with a water bottle.
- Verbally abusing students, calling an overweight student “tons of fun” and a mentally challenged student named Olivia – “Oblivia”.
A jury of her peers found her not guilty of the aggravated child abuse. Her defense was that no one understands how hard it is to deal with students who have physical and mental challenges. Her defense also included statements that her actions were accepted practice in the educational system.
Her actions went well beyond abuse – the Florida Department of Education and the local school board administration have no back bone by letting this kind of teacher stay employed in our schools.
Previously posted on Howard’s Blog – View From the Dark Side of the Moon