A Broward County teacher and classroom aide have been fired after being accused of swearing at and physically abusing kindergarten students with autism.
The Broward School Board fired Tahisha-Ann Brown, a teacher at Pasadena Lake Elementary on Tuesday. Joyce Bradley, a teacher’s aide in Brown’s class, was fired June 23.
The employees had been under investigation since May 2019 when abusive language and sounds of slapping were discovered on a recording device. Neither Brown nor Bradley could be reached for comment Thursday.
Parents became concerned in spring 2019 after their child started using curse words and saying “Ms. Brown is going to mess you up.” The child also had bruises. So they placed the recording device in the child’s backpack.
The audio recording depicted “the sounds of slapping and/or hitting of children, as well as children crying, and yelling the word ‘ouch,‘” a district report said.
The parents “sent their findings to authorities, which included a recording of the teachers allegedly lashing out at students, many of whom have trouble communicating,” a district complaint says.
The Pembroke Pines Police and State Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue criminal charges. Several parents have filed lawsuits against the district.
Both employees had prior disciplinary issues with the school district.
Brown started with the district in 2013 at Silver Ridge Elementary in Davie. She was recommended for termination during her probationary period and resigned instead, district officials said.
“There were performance issues about tardiness and her classrooms and teaching skills,” said district lawyer Andrew Carrabi.
But she was still eligible to work for the district and became a substitute teacher. In 2017, she was hired again by Pasadena Lakes as a teacher.
“When someone is let go on probationary leave, I don’t understand why we hire them in a different school,” Board member Laurie Rich Levinson said.
Bradley was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery on a student in 2014 after a 10-year-old boy went home with bruises on his arm.
State prosecutors eventually elected not to pursue criminal charges but the school district’s Professional Standards Committee issued a letter of reprimand after it determined Bradley had violated state ethics rules and professional conduct standards, records show.
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