Teacher Abuses Nonverbal Autistic Students: 5 Million Awarded

Photo by Flickr/D Sharon Pruitt

Seven autistic students in Pennsylvania faced abuse from their special education teacher in 2001-2003, and now their families are being issued $5 million dollars from the federal lawsuit.

Their teacher, Susan Wzorek, was charged with reckless endangerment and spent six weeks in prison in 2005.  She worked at Clarks Summit Elementary School, but was employed Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19.

Wzorek hit the children, dragged them across the room, pulled their hair, tied them to chairs, and stomped on their feet.  During one particular instance, Wzorek smacked one of the autistic children so hard that her lip became swollen.  She later told the parents that the child had fallen.  Her assistants confronted her, and even reported her to their agency.  However, Wzorek’s misconduct was never looked into.

Many of the children under Wzorek’s supervision were nonverbal.  Since they had no other outlet to communicate besides their picture cards, they were unable to describe the abuse or alert other teachers.  There are also fears about what kind of long term damage Wzorek may have caused by treating the students the way she did at such an important time in their lives.

Police began a thorough investigation after the parents of the one of the children reported that their child had been abused at school.  Police would later discover, through Wzorek’s assistants confession, that the child had been duct taped to a chair after Wzorek dragged him across the room and yanked on his hair.

Incase there is any doubt, please note, that since her arrest, Wzorek’s state teaching certification has been removed.

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