West Virginia school district talks for the first time on camera about secret recording


It’s the first time ABC7 is hearing from the Berkeley County School District on camera about a secret recording made by a child's mother. The audio recording captured disturbing comments made by a teacher and two aides in a first grade class with special education students.

On Monday, Kasey Murphy testified at the State Capitol in Charleston in front of the House Finance Committee. Her son, Owen, and other special education first graders were subjected to disturbing comments made by instructors captured on a secret recording at Berkeley Heights Elementary School.

Instructor No. 3: "Don't throw it. Don't throw. You animal you."

Instructor No. 2: "Yep. You wench."

Instructor No. 2: "You're like a pygmy. You're like a pygmy thing."

RELATED: Mom fights for classroom cameras after West Virginia instructors' verbal abuse revealed

While Murphy was asking delegates to push through new laws for cameras in the classroom and making it a crime in West Virginia if someone verbally abuses a child. Seven On Your Side was walking in the front doors of the Berkeley County School District demanding answers after the District declined our multiple requests for an on-camera interview.

"This isn't about getting our act together," said Berkeley County School District Superintendent Manny Arvon when asked why it's taken so long. "Our act is together, and it's dealing with very strict procedures and collecting all the evidence that we can. In situations like this you always want to be 100 percent."

The Berkeley County Prosecutor's Office wrapped up its investigation on Jan. 7 and said it found no criminal charges but acknowledged the verbal treatment of the students was shocking and disturbing.

When asked if he's talked to the parents, Arvon said he "can't answer that" before relenting that he has only spoke to one parent of a child in the classroom, Amber Pack, and no one else.

The teacher on the recording has resigned and the two aides who are also heard on the recording according to what ABC7 News has been told by the school district are both on administrative unpaid leave.

The Civil Rights Office with the U.S. Department of Education has started its own investigation into the secret recording.

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