Clearwater teacher charged with abusing special needs students - FOX 13 News

Clearwater teacher charged with abusing special needs students

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Parents trusted her to care for their children, but a teacher is accused of abusing two young special needs students. Investigators say it has been going on for months.

Melanie Fox, a teacher at Skycrest Elementary School in Clearwater, is in the Pinellas County Jail.

"I'm just angry. I'm hurt," said Cotie Andrad.

She noticed something was wrong with her 8-year old son, Jason. His behavior changed in January.

"I said something's going on," she said.

It turns out over the course of two months, his teacher had been abusing him and a 6-year old girl in his class at Skycrest Elementary in Clearwater.

"These children are special children. They are developmentally delayed. They are physically delayed. All aspects. These children are put in to those classrooms to get those special needs, that special attention," Andrad said.

Fox faces two counts of child abuse for hitting Jason, and tying his wrists together with rubber bands. The 6-year-old girl in the class was allegedly kicked, her hair pulled and she was hit with a book. She was tied up, as well and her wrists were bound with tape inside this school.

Not only was FOX charged for this, investigators say she admitted to it.

"She admitted to the allegations. When the detectives got the call, they investigated, they interviewed her and she made admissions to the allegations," said Joelle Castelli, spokesperson for the City of Clearwater.

A call to the child abuse hotline is what tipped off police. If not for that, Melanie Fox would still be on the job. She was a teacher who, by all outside appearances, was helping, not hurting the special needs children in her class.

"He liked her. That's the scary thing. He trusted her. She took the innocence from my kid and I don't know how this is going to affect him," Andrad said.

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