A Texas teacher and her two assistants are facing charges in connection with a punishment they imposed on a student last year, in which the 5-year-old was locked in an isolation room for so long that he began to eat his own feces.
Melody LaPointe, 47, Tarah Tinney, 33, and Augusta Costlow, 27, were arrested earlier this month in connection with the incident, which occurred at an unidentified school in the Liberty Independent School District in April last year.
Each faces four counts of abandoning or endangering a child, after placing the student in isolation for hours without access to food.
Eventually, the young man, who has special needs, became so hungry that he began eating his own feces and drinking his urine, a criminal complaint alleges.
Furthermore, while confined to the room, the boy fell and injured himself, but the three staff members, the charges in the lawsuit, did nothing to help him.
According to a district spokesperson, the two assistants, Tinney and Costlow, were administratively suspended during an internal investigation last year.
That investigation, officials said, saw them resign once the investigation was complete.
LaPointe, the lead classroom teacher, also quit but was able to find work in another nearby school district, at Hopper Primary in Houston. She was arrested in November 17 on school grounds, in full view of his students and co-workers.
Melody LaPointe, teacher from Texas, 47 years old
Melody LaPointe, 47, Tarah Tinney, 33, and Augusta Costlow, 27, were arrested this month in connection with a punishment a student received last year, in which the five-year-old was locked in a isolated room for so long. long since he started eating his own feces
Parents with students at Hopper Primary received the following email shortly after the students went home for the day.
“In an effort at full transparency, we want to inform our families about an incident that occurred yesterday during dismissal time,” Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District officials wrote.
‘A teacher at Bonnie P. Hopper Elementary School was arrested yesterday by Liberty County deputies.’
In the notice, the employees noted that the incident that led to the arrest of the insturctor’occurred in Liberty County and is not affiliated with Goose Creek CISD in any way.’
The authorities added that “the teacher is currently on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation” conducted by local police.
The assistants, for their part, were dismissed from their positions back in 2021, according to reports, together with their superior, that at some point they would find work a few kilometers away.
In the wake of last week’s arrests, Liberty Independent School District officials issued their own statement citing this fact, reiterating that the three were placed on leave without pay immediately after the district learned of the incident.
The alert, sent the same day as Liberty’s, read: “We removed educators, who continued to work for us, from the classroom and conducted a thorough investigation.”
The letter did not specify at which of its nine schools the 2021 incident occurred.
It did disclose, however, that after an internal investigation, 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 immediately launched, culminating in the trio’s arrests more than half a year later.
The three disgraced staff members are now charged with placing the boy in an isolation room within unspecified Liberty Independent School District facilities, which could land them in jail for up to four years.
Meanwhile, parents are demanding answers. as to why LaPointe was hired despite being the subject of such an investigation.
“I’m scared to send my daughter to school,” said Amanda Henry, who has a 6-year-old daughter at Hopper Primary.
You’re supposed to send them there to protect them, and they hired this lady who apparently didn’t do a thorough background check and hurt a child, left this child locked in a room, having to eat her own feces and drink. his own urine.
She added: “It’s disturbing.”
All three women have been booked into the Liberty County Jail. Each of his bonds was set at $60,000. A trial date has not yet been set.