Video prompts another special needs investigation - FOX 13 News

Video prompts another special needs investigation

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The woman in question is highlighted in this still frame of the video. The woman in question is highlighted in this still frame of the video.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

There are new questions about special needs children and the Hillsborough County School District. A school board member is now asking for an investigation into a videotape shot inside a special needs class.

A teacher's aide at Freedom High School captured video showing a woman with her head down on a desk with the lights off. Students can be seen on computers, nearby.

The woman doesn't move, even after two school bells go off minutes apart. She lifts her head after someone walks into the classroom and turns on the lights.

The aide who shot the video, Ashley Harrison, said she told the school's administration back in May.

"They told me, 'Be careful with that tape.' And then they called me in again, with the assistant principal, and she told me that same thing -- to be careful," she told FOX 13. "I guess [they meant] not sharing it with other people. And they said we're a family."

Harrison turned the tape over to Craig and Denise Collette. Harrison was assigned to work with their son Kyle. He's 18 years old, autistic, and diabetic.

Craig Collette said he tried showing the video to the assistant principal. "She said she was going to do an investigation and she had no interest in looking at the video. The next day she called me and said they did an investigation and the issue was unfounded."

But the district says they never got to see the video because the Collettes didn't turn it over.

FOX 13 showed it to school board member April Griffin, who said, "based on what I saw on the video, I believe we should investigate. I will be turning it over to the superintendent, who will then turn it over to the our Office of Professional Standards."

Griffin is requesting a second investigation. "With everything that's happened recently, it has been an onion that has been peeling. More things are being revealed. I can assure you that the public and the board is going to do everything that we can to make sure that our students are safe in the schools."

As for Harrison, she no longer works at Freedom High because Kyle was transferred to another school. She's applied for other positions without success. She's considering legal action against the school board because of her employment problems.

Griffin says she turned the video over to the school district and they're launching another investigation based on new information.

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