Five individuals, including four staff members and a behavioral technician from an elementary school in Indiana, have been charged after a special education student was allegedly forced to eat his own vomit with a spoon.
The incident took place in February at Brown Elementary School in Brownsburg, and resulted in the arrest of Sara Seymour, Debra Kanipe, Julie Taylor, Kristen Mitchell, and Megan King. All five were charged with misdemeanor failure to report, while Seymour and Kanipe were also charged with felony neglect of a dependent.
According to authorities, a video of the incident showed the student sitting at a table in the cafeteria, eating his lunch before standing up and appearing to gag on his food.
Seymour, a life skills teacher, allegedly told the child to sit down and said that if he vomited, he would be required to eat it. Taylor, another life skills teacher, was present and gave the boy a tray.
When the child vomited on the tray and the table, Kanipe, a life skills instructional aid, allegedly handed him a spoon. The child was then forced to use the spoon to eat the vomit and clean up the rest with paper towels.
Both Seymour and Kanipe allegedly stood on either side of the child as he consumed a portion of the vomit while Mitchell and King witnessed the incident. King, a behavioral technician employed by K1ds Count Therapy, a third-party contractor with the school, was present during the incident. However, the company did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.
The Brownsburg police were notified of the incident on April 12 after the school was made aware of it, and the Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office filed charges on Tuesday.
Online jail records show that Seymour and Kanipe were arrested and then released on the same day. It is unclear whether they have obtained attorneys.
Superintendent Jim Snapp stated on April 17 that he was “deeply saddened by the actions of these staff members.” The Brownsburg Community School Corp. spokesperson stated that all involved employees would face termination when the school board meets next month.