Natrona County High School Staff Member Suspended For Hitting Student
A staff member at Natrona County High School was placed on administrative leave Monday after an autistic student hit him and the staff member hit him back, according to a relative of the child and a statement from the Natrona County School District.
The district is investigating the incident, according to a prepared statement Tuesday.
Marisol Villescaz said a relative of hers is autistic and the 14-year-old boy had a rough day and was acting out his frustrations.
The boy ran from gym class toward a construction site, and teachers and staff ran after him, Villescaz said.
They were trying to control him when he hit Mark Brattis, who is listed in the district directory as an "educational support personnel," Villescaz said.
Brattis hit the boy in the face, she said.
Other teachers and staff witnessed the incident, she added.
A principal told her and her mother what happened, and he told her the staff member had been placed on leave, Villescaz said.
While dealing with autistic children can be difficult, Villescaz said staff and teachers are trained to not react in kind.
The Wyoming Department of Family Services became involved, too, she said.
School district spokeswoman Tanya Southerland issued a statement Tuesday morning that corroborated Villescaz story:
“When NCSD receives a report of an incident involving a staff member an investigation is promptly conducted following district policy and protocols. During this time, the staff member may be placed on administrative leave. That is what occurred in response to this report.”
Brattis did not have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment.