Bullying in schools should never be tolerated. A teacher bullying a special
needs child in school is unfathomable.
Jason is an 8 year old child, who was born with an underdeveloped heart.
He attended a class for disabled students at Skycrest Elementary School
in Clearwater Florida. Jason started complaining about “A big bully”
in class that pushed him to the floor. A few months later, Cotie Andrade
(Jason’s mother) learned that the “Big Bully” was Jason’s teacher.
“What scares me is that he trusted her. The things that she did are
unspeakable and shouldn’t be done to any child, let alone a child
that is physically or mentally handicapped. My son tried to tell me that
there was this ‘big bully’ in his class for the last few months.
I now know who that bully was.” said Andrade.
Melanie Jo Fox was Jason’s teacher. She has been charged with two
felony counts of child abuse, including physically abusing Jason Andrade
and a 6 year old disabled little girl in her class. Accusations include
– pushing Jason down and bounding his wrists, kicking the little
girl, binding her hands, hitting her in the head with a book and pulling her hair.
When speaking to Judge Dorothy Vaccaro, Fox said, “I’ve never
been in trouble in nine years, in my teaching career. I’ve never
had a problem. These are strictly allegations.” Judge Vaccaro ordered
Fox be held on $20,000 bail and denied Fox’s request to be released
on her own recognizance.
Additionally, other school employees could face legal implications, particularly
two teachers aids who supposedly stood by and watched Fox abuse the students
for almost two months.
“This could have been stopped, we didn’t need two months of
physical and mental damage.” Said Andrade
Sadly, abuse and negligent care of special needs students has become disturbingly
At The Maher Law Firm, it is our desire to educate and empower parents,
educators, doctors, therapists and community partners in the spirit of
advocacy and commitment to those with special needs and their families.
We consider it a privilege to represent families of special needs children.
If you or a loved one has questions concerning an special needs family
member, please don't hesitate to phone us at (407) 871-6141.