Parent: Handicap child abused at Clinton Elementary School

CLINTON, LA (WAFB) - A mom in East Feliciana Parish says she wants an apology from the school system. She says she got an anonymous call that her special needs daughter was slapped by the principal at Clinton Elementary School. Now one month later, she says the only thing she's gotten is a letter saying thanks for your concern.

Je'Angel Barnes, 10, has limited speech. But she has her own way of communicating.

"She has Hydroceplus with a shunt and she's cerebral palsy...which is like mental retardation," says her mother, Towanda Cummings. Cummings says that means her daughter functions as a two or three-year-old.

Barnes' behavior has been documented by the school system with teachers and aides made aware of her disability. But last month Je'Angel's behavior came in to question and Cummings was called.

"I needed to come pick my daughter up from school, that she had slapped principal twice," Cummings says, about a call she got on September 21, 2012.

Cummings says when she got to the school, the principal would not allow her to go to her daughter's classroom. Instead the principal, who had been hit by Je'Angel, went and got her daughter.

"As she was rolling my daughter to me she told her I love you, I love you."

According to a police report, Cummings then went to the school board to make sure the incident was documented. She says she was told by Superintendent Henderson Lewis not to worry because her daughter's behavior issues were listed on a Summary and Behavioral Intervention Plan, with the principal's signature.

Days later, Cummings says she got another call, from the assistant principal saying her daughter hit her teacher. She says about an hour after that the teacher called and said she needed to apologize to Cummings for something, but didn't go into detail as to what it was. After that, someone with the school system called to tell Cummings not to meet with the teacher - everything was under control.

Cummings says when her daughter came home from school that day, her wheelchair was damaged. And there were bruises and scratches on her daughters face. That night, she says she got an anonymous call.

"Said my daughter was slapped Friday by principal Ms. Jerry Mack," Cummings said.

Cummings filed a second report, this time with the Clinton Police Department.

It's been one month since the incident and she says the only thing she's heard from the school system is in a letter - thanking her for her interest in her child and explaining her concerns have been forwarded to the police.

"When she pulls up in school, she cries and says no ma, no ma."

After keeping her daughter home for several days, she says she's been told the teacher quit; one of her daughter's aides retired, the other went to another classroom, and the principal is back from administrative leave.

She says she does not feel her daughter is safe at the school. But she says her daughter needs instructional time in an educational setting.

"How she going to learn if I take her out of school?"

The superintendent in East Feliciana would not do an on-camera interview and instead sent a response, saying they are dealing with a personnel matter involving an administrator but they will have no other comments.

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