Texas teachers and assistants arrested after neglecting five-year-old boy with special needs

A Texas teacher and her two assistants have been charged in connection with the punishment they imposed on a student last year for locking the five-year-old in an isolation room long enough for him to start eating his own feces.

Melody LaPointe, 47, Tara Tenney, 33, and Augusta Costello, 27, were arrested earlier this month in connection with the ordeal – which took place in April 2021 at an unnamed school in the Liberty Charter School District.

They each face four counts of abandoning or endangering a child after isolating a student for hours without access to food.

A criminal complaint states that the boy, who has special needs, eventually became so hungry that he began eating his own feces and drinking his own urine.

Furthermore, while being restrained in the room, the child fell and injured himself – but the three staff, who were in their suits, did nothing to help him.

Assistants Tinney and Costlow were granted leave last year during an internal investigation, according to a district spokesperson.

The officials said this investigation led to their resignation once the investigation was completed.

LaPointe, the homeroom teacher, quit, but found work at another nearby school district, Hooper Elementary in Houston. Arrested in November 17 on school grounds, in front of their students and classmates.

Texas teacher Melody LaPointe, 47, has been placed on leave pending an internal investigation following the incident.  She managed to find work as a teacher in a nearby county before she and her former assistants were arrested last week

Texas teacher Melody LaPointe, 47, has been placed on leave pending an internal investigation following the incident. She managed to find work as a teacher in a nearby county before she and her former assistants were arrested last week

Teaching assistant Tara Tenney, 33, was also forced out of the school after an internal investigation last year

Technical assistant Augusta Costello, 27, was also forced out of the school after an internal investigation last year

Melody LaPointe, 47, Tara Tenney, 33, and Augusta Costello, 27, were arrested this month in connection with the sentence they handed down to a student last year, which involved confining the five-year-old to an isolation room for too long. He started eating his own feces

Parents of Hooper Elementary students received the following email shortly after the students returned home for the day.

“In an effort to be fully transparent, we would like to notify our families of an incident that occurred during yesterday’s unloading,” officials with the Goose Creek Consolidated School District wrote.

“A teacher at Bonnie B. Hopper Elementary School was arrested by Liberty County Sheriffs yesterday.”

In the notice, the staff noted that the incident that prompted the coach’s arrest “It took place in Liberty County and is in no way affiliated with Goose Creek CISD.

“The teacher is being placed on paid administrative leave pending completion of the investigation by the local police,” the officials added.

Meanwhile, the assistants were sacked from their positions early in 2021, it emerged, along with their manager, who would eventually find work a few miles away.

After last week’s arrests, officials from the Liberty Independent School District issued a statement of their own citing that fact and reiterating that the three were given unpaid leave immediately after the district learned of the incident.

The incident occurred at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District in April last year.  It is not yet clear in which of the nine schools the incident occurred.  Pictured is a county office in Liberty Texas

The incident occurred at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District in April last year. It is not yet clear in which of the nine schools the incident occurred. Pictured is a county office in Liberty Texas

The alert, sent out the same day as Liberty, said: “We have removed from class teachers who have continued to work with us and have conducted a full investigation.”

The letter did not specify which of the nine schools the 2021 incident occurred in.

But he revealed this after an internal investigation by the county Report each of the teachers to the state board for teacher certification and share the findings with law enforcement officials.

The police immediately launched an investigation that culminated in the arrest of the trio after more than six months.

The three disgraced employees are now accused of moving the boy to an isolation room inside the unspecified Liberty Independent School District facility, where they could each be jailed for up to four years.

Meanwhile, the parents demand answers Why LaPointe was set though is the subject of such an investigation.

LaPointe, the homeroom teacher, was arrested Nov. 17 at Hooper Elementary School in Houston, where she had been working for the past few months.  She was arrested inside the school in front of her students and classmates.  Parents have since complained about her appointment

LaPointe, the homeroom teacher, was arrested Nov. 17 at Hooper Elementary School in Houston, where she had been working for the past few months. She was arrested inside the school in front of her students and classmates. Parents have since complained about her appointment

“I’m afraid of sending my daughter to school,” said Amanda Henry, who has a 6-year-old daughter who attends Hooper Elementary.

“They were supposed to send them there for protection and they hired this lady who didn’t seem to have done a full background check on a child and she hurt him and left that child locked in a room eating and drinking his own urine.

“It’s annoying,” she added.

The three women were sentenced to the Liberty County Jail. Their bond was priced at $60,000. The hearing date has not been set.

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