After suspecting that there was something wrong going on at her nonverbal child's school, Amber Pack of Berkley County, West Virginia decided to hide a recording device in her daughter's hair. What she heard was sickening, and now the young girl's former teacher and two former aides are facing charges.
Ben Salango, an attorney for the Pack family stated that Amber Pack noticed in October of last year that her 6-year-old daughter Adri was coming home from school with bruises on her arms that looked as though they could be caused by someone gripping her, CNN reported. Salango also said that despite the fact that Adri was nonverbal, it was clear from her actions that she didn't want to go to school and would cry when the school bus arrived.
Pack put a recording device in Adri's hair so she could hear firsthand what was making her daughter so upset. "She was absolutely shocked by what she heard," Salango told CNN.
Local station WHSV 3 stated that the device recorded adults speaking to students and saying things like, "I'm going to pull your hair until you start crying," "I am gonna beat your butt for sure and Owen, you're gonna get one just cause," and "I ought to backhand you right in your teeth. How is that for anxiety?"
I just obtained the mug shots of the former @BerkCoSchoolsWV teacher and the 2 aides arrested this morning in connection to the #SecretClassroomRecording Here is former teacher Christina Lester. @ABC7News #7OnYourSide pic.twitter.com/J9e59YoqCc— Scott Taylor ABC 7 (@ScottTaylorTV) August 16, 2019
"I couldn't eat for three days. My stomach. I was so upset. Every time I looked at her I would start crying,” Pack told WJLA of hearing the recordings, all of which were recorded in just the one day she hid the recording device on her daughter.
On Friday, teacher Christina Lester along with aides June Yurish and Kristin Douty was charged with misdemeanor failure to report abuse or neglect, PEOPLE reports.
Despite Pack initially reporting the recordings to police, it wasn't until Pack posted some of the recordings on Facebook in February, which subsequently went viral, that the attorney general filed a civil lawsuit against the three women for verbally assaulting students. Berkeley Heights Principal Amber Boeckmann and Berkeley County Deputy Superintendent Margaret F. Kursey were both added to the lawsuit in May after it was reported that they allegedly "actively tried to hinder the investigation and obscure evidence with a flawed investigation, an order to destroy the recording and a failure to report the matter to Child Protective Services."
"These arrests send a strong message — that child abuse will not be tolerated and must be reported," Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement. "We must continue working to ensure vulnerable children are protected, especially at school."
"We're pleased that the prosecutor took her time, did a thorough investigation and decided to arrest the three individuals this morning," Salango told CNN. "We've had faith in the system from the beginning and look forward to a disposition of criminal proceedings."
The Pack family has since moved Adri to a new school.