Hollywood Teacher Accused of Strapping Autistic Child into Chair: Report

Superintendent Robert Runcie has recommended the teacher be fired, but the teacher has the right to a state hearing.

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012  |  Updated 12:48 PM EDT
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A teacher at Stirling Elementary in Hollywood is accused of locking an autistic child in a chair for two hours, and improperly managing several other special-needs children, according to a complaint.

Tuesday, the Broward School Board moved to suspend eight-year teacher Vivia Bromfield without pay, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Superintendent Robert Runcie has recommended Bromfield be fired, but she has the right to a state hearing. School district officials say Bromfield in April strapped a 9-year-old boy into a Rifton chair, a learning and special activity chair typically used for students who rely on wheelchairs, but for no more than 15 minutes, the newspaper said.

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The complaint said the child was able to sit normally at a desk and chair. Bromfield, who couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday, had said she temporarily placed the student in the chair to benefit from individual attention.

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In addition, the complaint said Bromfield left another child in a similar situation earlier this year, and in a separate incident left two special-needs children for 70 minutes inside devices intended to help them stand.

Dane Ramson, a staff representative for the Broward Teachers Union, told the Sun Sentinel that the punishment was "extremely harsh." Ramson called the charges unfounded. "She is the sweetest lady; this is why we lose good teachers," Ramson said.

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