APS Superintendent speaks out on school abuse video

ATLANTA -- The superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools spoke out on Wednesday, with his reaction to some disturbing video released on Tuesday.

The video allegedly shows two para-professionals beating special needs children at Harper Archer Middle School in northwest Atlanta.

In a news conference, Superintendent Errol Davis apologized to parents, describing his reaction to the video as disgust.

A teacher at Harper Archer Middle School released the hidden camera video, after she says the district failed to take her claims seriously.

She said she wanted to prove the assistants in this special needs classroom were lazy and combative. It wasn't until she watched the video she learned they were also abusive.

Davis says the district did send in an observer as soon as it received her complaint. That person noticed an injury on one child. He says the district was in the process of filing charges against Alger Coleman when they learned the whistleblower that took the video had already gone to police.

"I made it clear when I started here three years ago that no one who has done harm or cheated children will be left in front of children," Davis said. "They forfeit that right until they are cleared."

Coleman is not the only one under investigation. A para-professional, Keisha Smith, has been placed on paid administrative leave. She is depicted in the video striking another child twice in the head.

Police say they are also investigating her behavior to determine if charges are appropriate.

The district say it will also investigate the initial complaints made by the whistle-blower to see if the school could have done more to prevent the abuse.


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