Texas teachers and assistants arrested after neglecting five-year-old boy with special needs

A Texas teacher and her two assistants are being charged in connection with a punishment they gave a student last year for locking the five-year-old in an isolation room long enough for him to start eating his own feces.

Melody LaPointe, 47, Tarah Tinney, 33, and Augusta Costlow, 27, were arrested earlier this month in connection with the ordeal – which occurred in April 2021 at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District.

They each face four counts of abandoning or endangering a child after isolating the student for hours without access to food.

Eventually, the boy, who has special needs, starved so badly that he began eating his own feces and drinking his urine, a criminal complaint says.

Furthermore, while tied to the room, the little boy fell and injured himself – but the three staff, wearing suits, did nothing to help him.

Assistants Tinney and Costlow were both placed on leave last year during an internal investigation, according to a spokesman for the district.

That investigation, officials said, led to their resignation once the investigation was complete.

LaPointe, the main classroom teacher, also quit but found work at another nearby school district, Houston’s Hopper Primary. She was arrested in November 17 on the school grounds, in front of their students and colleagues.

Texas teacher Melody LaPointe, 47, was placed on leave pending an internal investigation after the incident. She was able to find work as a teacher in a nearby county before she and her former assistants were arrested last week

Texas teacher Melody LaPointe, 47, was placed on leave pending an internal investigation after the incident. She was able to find work as a teacher in a nearby county before she and her former assistants were arrested last week

Teaching assistant Tarah Tinney, 33, was also forced out of the school following the internal investigation last year

Technical assistant Augusta Costlow, 27, was also forced out of the school following the internal investigation last year

Melody LaPointe, 47, Tarah Tinney, 33, and Augusta Costlow, 27, were arrested this month in connection with a sentence they gave a student last year, which involved locking the five-year-old in an isolation room for taking so long that he started to eat his own feces

Parents of Hopper Primary students received the following email shortly after the students had gone home for the day.

“In an effort to be fully transparent, we would like to notify our families of an incident that occurred during the discharge yesterday,” officials at the Goose Creek Consolidated independent school district wrote.

“A teacher at Bonnie P. Hopper Primary School was arrested by Liberty County police officers yesterday.”

In the notice, staff noted that the incident that spurred the instructor’s arrest “took place in Liberty County and is in no way affiliated with Goose Creek CISD.’

Officials added that “the teacher is currently being placed on paid administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation by local police.”

The assistants, meanwhile, were removed from their posts as early as 2021, it emerged, along with their manager, who would eventually find work just a few miles away.

Following last week’s arrests, officials from the Liberty Independent School District issued their own statement citing this fact and repeating that the three were given unpaid leave immediately after the district learned of the incident.

The incident happened at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District in April last year. It is not yet clear at which of the nine schools the incident occurred. Pictured is the county office in Liberty Texas

The incident happened at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District in April last year. It is not yet clear at which of the nine schools the incident occurred. Pictured is the county office in Liberty Texas

The alert, which was sent out on the same day as Liberty’s, said: “We have removed the educators who continued to work for us from the classroom and conducted a full investigation.”

The letter did not specify which of the nine schools the 2021 incident occurred at.

But he revealed that after an internal investigation by the district reported each of the educators to the State Board for Educator Certification and shared the results with law enforcement officials.

A police investigation was launched immediately, which culminated in the arrest of the trio more than six months later.

The three disgraced staffers are now accused of taking the boy to an isolation room inside the unspecified Liberty Independent School District facility, where they could each be jailed for up to four years.

Meanwhile, the parents are demanding answers why LaPointe was hired despite being the subject of such an investigation.

LaPointe, the main classroom teacher, was arrested Nov. 17 at Hopper Primary in Houston, where she had been working for the past few months. She was arrested on school grounds in front of her students and colleagues. Parents have since complained that she was hired

LaPointe, the main classroom teacher, was arrested Nov. 17 at Hopper Primary in Houston, where she had been working for the past few months. She was arrested on school grounds in front of her students and colleagues. Parents have since complained that she was hired

“I’m afraid to send my daughter to school,” said Amanda Henry, who has a 6-year-old daughter at Hopper Primary.

“They were supposed to send them there for protection and they hire this lady who doesn’t appear to have done a full background check on a child and hurt them and left that child locked in a room eating and drinking their own poop his own urine.

She added: “It’s disturbing.”

All three women were sentenced to the Liberty County Jail. Their bonds were each priced at $60,000. A hearing date has not yet been set.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11467759/Texas-teacher-assistants-arrested-neglecting-five-year-old-special-needs-boy.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Texas teachers and assistants arrested after neglecting five-year-old boy with special needs

Emma Colton

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