A Texas teacher and two aides have been arrested for allegedly abusing a 5-year-old special needs boy in 2021.
Three instructors employed at the Liberty Independent School District (ISD) were taken into custody in mid-November for alleged crimes committed during an alleged shocking incident on April 15, 2021. Teacher Melody Michel LaPointe, 47, and teaching assistants Tarah Michelle Tinney, 33, and Augusta Danielle Costlow, 27, were charged with four counts each of abandoning or endangering a child in imminent danger of bodily injury, a second-degree felony.
All three women were booked into the Liberty County Jail, and their bond was set at $60,000 each. All three are reportedly out on bond.
The teacher and instructional assistants are accused of isolating a special needs student in a room at a Liberty Independent School District facility. The 5-year-old boy was deprived of food, and began eating his own feces and drinking his own urine, according to court documents.
The three instructors were reportedly responsible for the care of the young victim.
The indictment identified the victim as "R.W.," and stated the instructors “intentionally abandoned [R.W.] in a place under circumstances that exposed [R.W.] to an unreasonable risk of harm, and under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe would place the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”
Law & Crime reported, "The document explains that the alleged conduct involved confining R.W. 'to an isolation room where he fell causing bodily injury' and then failing to 'voluntarily deliver the child to a designated emergency infant care provider' as required by law."
A spokesperson for Liberty ISD issued a statement on the disturbing accusations.
We immediately reported the matter to law enforcement and CPS, removed the educators who continued to work for us from the classroom, and conducted a comprehensive investigation. Based upon our investigation, we reported the educators to the State Board for Educator Certification and shared our results with law enforcement officials.
KTRK-TV reported, "According to a spokesperson for Liberty ISD, the two assistants were put on administrative leave during the investigation last year and then resigned once the investigation was completed. LaPointe, the main teacher in the classroom, was able to find work at another school district. She was recently working as a teacher for Bonnie P. Hopper Primary School in Goose Creek CISD."
On Nov. 17, officials at the Hopper Primary School informed parents of the teacher's arrest.
"In an effort of full transparency, we want to inform our families of an incident that occurred yesterday during dismissal. A teacher at Bonnie P. Hopper Primary School was arrested yesterday by Liberty County constables. The cause for arrest occurred in Liberty County and is not affiliated with Goose Creek CISD in any way. The teacher is currently placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation, after which the District will take appropriate disciplinary action. As this is a pending legal matter, Goose Creek CISD will allow the legal process to proceed and refrain from further comment.We want to ensure our families that the safety and security of your children is our #1 concern. We thank you for your continuous support of our campus and our district.