On Your Side: Alleged child abuse at Piccolo School

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Updated: 4/10 6:16 pm
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) --  News 4 has learned Washoe County School Police and Child Protective Services are both looking into allegations a teacher abused a student. The claims surround a 9-year-old who attends Marvin Piccolo School.

The child's mother is Karessa Battenfeld. She said she learned through Washoe County's Child Protective Services that her daughter may have been the victim of abuse. Even more disturbing is the alleged abuse may have come from someone she is supposed to trust.

A few weeks ago, Battenfeld said she was left in tears after receiving an unexpected phone call from an investigator with Child Protective Services. "Stating um, stating that there was a possibility my daughter's teacher had been hurting her."

Battenfeld said she never dreamed anyone would harm her daughter, Autumn. Autumn suffers from several conditions including a rare brain disorder. She is unable to walk or talk and is totally dependent on others for her care.

Battenfeld says what the investigator told her about Autumn's teacher deeply disturbed her. "Allegedly, the story is she had been ripping her out of her wheelchair and throwing her."

Dottie Goldsberry said her daughter called her immediately after receiving the call from Child Protective Services. "She called me very upset, crying."

Goldsberry said after learning the news she began asking questions. She learned the complaint was filed in March anonymously, after someone witnessed a teacher putting Autumn on a horse at the school.

"She can't sit up. She can't ride a horse by herself," said Goldsberry. "From my understanding it's only the Equestrian Program that takes the children out of their chairs. When my granddaughter started crying and screaming, she yanked her off the horse and threw her into the chair."

As they await the outcome of the investigations, they said their views of Autumn's school and teacher have drastically changed. "You completely trust this person to take care of your child and that's completely shattered. That trust is completely shattered."

News 4 has also learned the teacher in question has been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigations.
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NVAdvocate - 4/13/2014 6:56 PM
0 Votes
Should have indicated I am a parent and my daughter went to Picollo for a year. I understand the culture of the place quite well. Also should mention that I am a disability rights advocate, with a couple decades experience. I have taken information from, and offered training to, staff who felt the open abuse of students in Picollo is deplorable; spoken to parents on abuse issues, and provided them with training; and been to Piccolo plenty to address educational problems including the huge number of scream rooms, or interact on some level. I have personally witnessed potential abuse (I step in a stop it when I see it coming.) Trust me. If the parents started insisting on recording what goes on in classrooms they might be appalled.

tonysam - 4/13/2014 1:15 PM
0 Votes
"Mandatory reporting" has NOTHING to do with being a governmental employee. If you witness child abuse, you MUST report it. Doctors, nurses, and social workers are also mandatory reporters.

Nevadadad - 4/11/2014 8:45 PM
0 Votes
I hadn't finished before starry4red wrote. It sounds like they may have inside information not yet available to the public, but starry4red also assumes everyone else should have that same information, which isn't anywhere in the news report.

Nevadadad - 4/11/2014 8:41 PM
0 Votes
Excuse me. NVAdvocate makes a lot of assumptions based on very little information. And they're wrong about mandated reporters. Child and other non-official (civilian) witnesses are not mandated reporters. Teachers, other school officials, Police, Firefighters and other government employees are mandated. You're right that many people shirk this responsibility and don't report anyway. But keep in mind that all we know at this point is that there was 1 anonymous report (so far), and that it must have been credible enough to get the agency involved. No mention of school Police involvement yet, which is a little odd, so there are a lot of questions still, and we don't know much. Keep in mind that perception is a powerful, and often inaccurate thing. So it's possible that the witness saw what happened differently than others who observed the incident. Don't get me wrong, I have a handicapped child myself, and I'm fiercely defensive of him when I think he's being mistreated. But be careful about jumping to conclusions.

starry4red - 4/11/2014 8:39 PM
0 Votes
Not everyone who works there just ignored this teacher! There happened to be many reports from staff & others who saw this behavior from this person. There was not even just one child involved. You should keep your uninformed opinion to yourself!!!

NVAdvocate - 4/11/2014 4:56 PM
0 Votes
www.stophurtingkids.com/the-film/

EarlRichards - 4/11/2014 4:24 AM
0 Votes
See, www.nospank.net.

NVAdvocate - 4/10/2014 9:57 PM
1 Vote
There are a couple of agencies in town who will be more than happy to help you get your daughter into her neighborhood school. That's where she belongs, with the children who are her neighbors, children she will see all the time at stores and in your local shopping and recreation areas. Please give one of them a call and get her out of segregation. It's a miracle someone turned her teacher in, everyone who ewitnessed it was a mandatory reporter, and yet the call was anonymous. There should have been as many calls as there were staff present at the time. What does that tell you about people there even recognizing what was happening as abuse. Clients tell me it happens on a regular basis, and no one ever calls it in. Must have been a new hire.
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