• Investigation underway amid allegations of Pawhuska teacher's abuse of special needs children

    By: Ashli Lincoln


    PAWHUKSA, Okla. - Quick facts:

    • A teacher at Indian Camp Elementary School is accused of abusing special needs students.
    • An investigation is underway.
    • Parents say they think the teacher does not know how to handle children with special needs.


    An investigation is underway amid allegations of abuse of special needs students at the Indian Camp Elementary School in Pawhuska.

    A teacher at the school is accused of placing students in a choke hold, kicking them and even spitting on them.

    Most of the students in question have some sort of disability, such as autism or reliance on non-verbal communication skills.

    Another teacher who worked with special needs children reported the assaults to DHS, who then contacted the police department.

    Surveillance video from the hallway at the school allegedly shows a teacher assaulting a student. The video is a part of the investigation and isn’t available for release.

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    The teacher who reported the incident no longer works for the school system.

    Parents say they reported incidents back in November, but the police department is specifically investigating an incident that took place a month later.

    Those parents believe the teacher doesn’t know how to handle children with special needs.

    Pawhuska Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Neufeld released a statement Tuesday:

    "We take the safety of our students, and especially our vulnerable students, as our highest priority and protect them from harm at all times.

    "When we became aware of allegations against employees regarding a special needs student, we immediately began an investigation.

    "This investigation is ongoing in cooperation with law enforcement.

    "Because this is an ongoing investigation regarding confidential personnel and student matters, and an ongoing law enforcement investigation, we cannot comment further."

    The Pawhuska Police Department also released a statement:

    "On December 15th, we were made aware of an alleged assault that had taken place on December 1st at the Pawhuska Indian Camp School. It was reported that the assault involved a member of the faculty and a student of the school. Upon learning of these allegations, we were able to make contact with the victim's mother and inform her of the investigation.

    "During the investigation, we made contact with the school principal and the superintendent as well. Both were cooperative and gave the desired information for the investigation. We also made contact with several members of the school faculty whom also gave statements regarding the investigation. After collecting the statements and evidence of all parties involved, all of the information was then submitted to the District Attorney's office for further review."

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