Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

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School Board approves $590,000 settlement in abuse case involving autistic children

The Clark County School Board on Thursday unanimously approved a $590,000 settlement with the families of five autistic children who allegedly were abused by a Las Vegas public schoolteacher.

Each of the five children received settlements ranging from $90,000 to $150,000, the School District said. The children were students at Reed Elementary School between January 2006 and April 2007, when the abuse allegedly occurred.

Their teacher, Mamie Hubbard-Washington, 67, allegedly pinched and bruised the children, scratched them with her nails and struck them with her fist, knuckles and a ruler, according to court documents. Hubbard-Washington also allegedly yelled at the children regularly, calling them “crybabies,” “dumb” and “sissies.”

In one incident, Hubbard-Washington allegedly smashed the face of one of the students onto a desktop, causing a black eye and a chipped tooth, according to court documents.

The children, ages 6 to 8 at the time, were autistic and couldn’t speak, according to court documents. The families sued the School District, alleging that school officials failed to do enough to protect their children from abuse. District officials disputed the claim.

Court documents say School District officials learned of the situation in March and April 2007 when two special-education aides allegedly saw Hubbard-Washington aggressively handle a child on two occasions.

Although the School District contends that Reed officials investigated both incidents, Hubbard-Washington wasn’t removed from the classroom until April 2007, according to court documents. She eventually was convicted in February on five counts of criminal child abuse and neglect.

Hubbard-Washington, who had 19 years of teaching experience, began teaching at Reed in 2005 after passing background checks. The certified special-education teacher has a degree in elementary education and studied behavioral disorders and learning disabilities, according to court documents.

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