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Tennessee elementary school principal is fired by board for dragging autistic boy, 11, by his feet

Tennessee elementary school principal is fired by board for dragging autistic boy, 11, by his feet through school hallways with help of teacher after he misbehaved

  • Helen Campbell was fired for ‘unprofessional conduct, conduct unbecoming, insubordination, and neglect of duty’ from Walter Hill Elementary 
  • Rutherford County Director of Schools Bill Spurlock said that on November 4, 2019, the student failed to comply to a request from Campbell 
  • She then grabbed the student by the ankles and dragged him through the school’s hallway 
  • The child sustained minor injuries. Both Campbell and teacher Bonnie Marlar had child abuse charges filed against them
  • The charges were eventually dismissed by a judge. Campbell and Marlar were suspended and no decision has been made about Marlar’s status
  • Campbell’s termination was eventually approved by a 5-2 vote, with one board member critical of the decision. She can appeal the decision 

The principal of a Tennessee elementary school has been fired two and a half years after video went public of her dragging a special education student through the school.

Helen Campbell was fired for ‘unprofessional conduct, conduct unbecoming, insubordination, and neglect of duty’ from Walter Hill Elementary in Murfreesboro Thursday. 

Rutherford County Director of Schools Bill Spurlock said that on November 4, 2019, the student failed to comply to a request from Campbell.

She then grabbed the student by the ankles and dragged him through the school’s hallway. 

The child sustained minor injuries. Both Campbell and teacher Bonnie Marlar had child abuse charges filed against them.

Helen Campbell was fired for ‘unprofessional conduct, conduct unbecoming, insubordination, and neglect of duty’ from Walter Hill Elementary in Murfreesboro Thursday

Rutherford County Director of Schools Bill Spurlock said that on November 4, 2019, the student failed to comply to a request from Campbell. She then grabbed the student by the ankles and dragged him through the school's hallway

Rutherford County Director of Schools Bill Spurlock said that on November 4, 2019, the student failed to comply to a request from Campbell. She then grabbed the student by the ankles and dragged him through the school’s hallway

Stills from that security video showed Campbell and Marlar pulling the child by his arm from a chair, grabbing him by his belt and dragging him by the wrists before dragging him into the hallway by the ankles

Stills from that security video showed Campbell and Marlar pulling the child by his arm from a chair, grabbing him by his belt and dragging him by the wrists before dragging him into the hallway by the ankles

Then, they are shown grabbing the boy's ankles and dragging him to the back of the school

Then, they are shown grabbing the boy’s ankles and dragging him to the back of the school

The charges were eventually dismissed by a judge. Campbell and Marlar were suspended and no decision has been made about Marlar’s status. 

Spurlock has accused Campbell of attempting to destroy evidence, saying she tried to delete security footage from the school’s cameras. 

Campbell pled no contest to the charge and was given probation for a misdemeanor charge. 

She issued the same plea, guaranteeing a conviction but not admitting guilt, to a neglect charge.  

At a Thursday night board of education meeting, stills from that security video showed Campbell pulling the child by his arm from a chair, grabbing him by his belt and dragging him by the wrists. 

Then, they are shown grabbing the boy’s ankles and dragging him to the back of the school. They dragged him a total of 570 feet. 

Campbell and Bonnie Marlar (pictured) were suspended and no decision has been made about Marlar's status

Campbell and Bonnie Marlar (pictured) were suspended and no decision has been made about Marlar’s status

County Director of Schools Bill Spurlock (pictured left) has accused Campbell of attempting to destroy evidence, saying she tried to delete security footage from the school's cameras and recommended her firing

County Director of Schools Bill Spurlock (pictured left) has accused Campbell of attempting to destroy evidence, saying she tried to delete security footage from the school’s cameras and recommended her firing

One school member, Tammy Sharp, argued on Campbell’s behalf, saying she was ‘phenomenal’ at her job and said that she’s being convicted by a court of public opinion.   

‘Not one of us on this board have spoken to Miss Campbell. We don’t know the background of this student, we don’t know what his issues were,’ Sharp said. ‘I think its disgusting and I’m sure our teachers that deal with problems like this every day have a chill down their back today and they’re looking for more jobs.’

A special needs student administrator for the school district spoke during the meeting 

‘I have seen the video from beginning to end. I did not see any behavior that constitutes emergency behavior, dragging the student from the front to the back of the building to the common room, almost two football fields is not a CPI technique and is not proper restraint.’ 

Campbell’s termination was eventually approved by a 5-2 vote. She can appeal the decision. 

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