Mother upset about school system's response to teacher assistant cutting daughter's hair

  • Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Monday, October 1, 2012 7:00 p.m.

By Sarah Campbell
The mother of a Millbridge Elementary School student with Down Syndrome said she’s frustrated by the lack of response from school officials following a haircut given to her daughter during class.
Jessica Stirewalt said teacher assistant Monica Becker called Sept. 21 to let her know she had trimmed 7-year-old Jesslynn Poole’s long brown locks.
“Of course, I got mad and asked how much and she said about 4 inches,” Stirewalt said. “I asked why and she said she was eating and got food matted in it.”
When Jesslynn arrived home from school that day, Stirewalt said her hair was actually about 8 inches shorter.
“Her hair was down past her butt, now it’s up around her shoulders,” she said.
Stirewalt said Millbridge Principal Christopher Smith told her action would be taken, but the incident hasn’t been addressed.
“He said there was going to be a meeting, but I never heard anything back from him,” she said.
Stirewalt said she’s also left messages with school board members, but no one has called her back.
“It feels like it’s not a big deal to the school and the school board, but it’s a big deal to us,” she said. “It just hurts my feelings and I want something done. It feels like nothing is being done.”
School officials have been quiet about the incident.
“We cannot address or direct any response to a specific incident that is legally protected by student and personnel confidentiality,” district spokeswoman Rita Foil said.
When a Post reporter called the school, Smith declined to comment.
Foil said Becker is still employed as a teacher assistant and bus driver at Millbridge, a job she has had since August 2011.
Becker worked for the school system about seven months several years ago. She was a exceptional children’s teacher assistant starting at the end of October 2007 and resigning in early May 2008.
Read the complete story in Tuesday’s Post.

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