School worker quits after suspicious handprint left on autistic -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

School worker quits after suspicious handprint left on autistic child, questions remain

Karah Ketchum Karah Ketchum
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The mother of an autistic child said she believes there is more to a case where a suspicious handprint was left on her son.

Karah Ketchum found the mark on her 5 year-old son, Chandler, when picking him up from Sylvandale Elementary school.

She believes a school worker hit or grabbed him. She is also upset that no one was reprimanded and wants other parents to be aware.

"I was thinking, 'What happened?' Nobody told me anything. Did he fight with another kid? But obviously it was an adult-sized handprint so I knew something happened. But nobody told me anything," said Ketchum.

Her son Chandler is autistic.

"He's non-verbal. He talks, but he doesn't converse. So of course I asked him what happened, but he couldn't tell me what happened."

Ketchum showed pictures to Dougherty County school police after the May 9th incident. They launched a lengthy investigation.

"They went out to Sylvandale and spoke with the Pre-K director. She called and wanted us to have a meeting with all three adults involved, which no one admitted to it. I mean it's obvious something happened," said Ketchum.

Investigators say surveillance video shows Chandler got the mark at school and recommended the classroom and employees involved be monitored closely.

Ketchum asked for polygraph tests, but one of the workers quit instead of taking it. "Since she quit, they were done with the matter. Because she no longer works for them, it's handled. But I disagree because this wouldn't be on her record now, she didn't really get in trouble for it."

Now she wants parents to be aware.

"I really want parents, especially parents with special needs children who can't speak for themselves, to watch their children really closely, because it could happen to them, because it happened to my son," said Ketchum.

She hopes it never happens again, and said she thinks cameras should be in classrooms, especially for children who can't speak.

School police say the investigation was thorough. No one was available to speak on behalf of the school Wednesday.

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