Beth Suhon, a mother in Claysville, Pennsylvania, is suing a teacher who accidentally left a voicemail in which she could be overheard mocking her sixth-grade daughter.
According to AJC, Suhon's daughter (who is diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, which causes both developmental and learning issues) was underperforming in school, leading to a call from her teacher. The teacher accidentally forgot to hang up the phone and was heard making fun of the student with other teachers.
“She could coal mine ... She could be a good coal miner!” she was heard saying, amidst laughter from other teachers. “She has a pretty smile. Her teeth are crooked ... She can walk!”
“They have no respect for children, especially children with special needs,” Suhon has since said. “It was very difficult for me to tell my child who has been bullied by her peers for years that she was now being bullied by her teachers. Adults can be bullies too.”
Suhon is now taking out a discrimination lawsuit against the Washington County's McGuffey School District, claiming the school was negligent in not providing her with adequate testing. She's saying that her daughter faced retaliation when concerns about her education were discussed and that her special education plan was revoked without explanation or consent from her legal guardian.
“I would like for the school district to acknowledge that they have teachers that obviously need counseling,” Suhon added. The amount of damages she is seeking in the suit has not yet been revealed publicly.
"The educators mock the students' mathematics ability, physical appearance, and classroom behavior, punctuating these crass comments with derisive laughter,” according to a report cited in the suit.
“The mockery, laughter and derision voiced by the three educators in the voicemail recording is unconscionable… [i]t is nearly unfathomable, and frankly heart-breaking, to gauge that the speakers on that recording are educators working with 10 year old children, and are particularly discussing some of those children who clearly have significant disabilities,” a judge wrote.
The district has not yet responded to the suit.
Suhon's daughter was removed from the school and has since been placed in cyber school, but has since rejoined her class.
[Photo: Twitter @Hurshal]