Teacher's aide resigns after abuse allegations

NORTH EAST, Pa. -- A North East School District teacher's aide who was suspended after a special needs child was allegedly abused last week in the school's cafeteria has now resigned.

Geraldine Slater turned in her letter of resignation from the North East School District Thursday, according to North East Superintendent Frank McClard. The North East School District board of directors voted unanimously to accept Slater's letter of resignation during a meeting Thursday night.

Last Friday, Niko Lantz received a phone call from her son's principal, telling her about an alleged abuse incident that happened to her son, Adison, 6, during lunch at Earle C. Davis Primary School, 50 E. Division St. 

The school's administration immediately reviewed video of the incident recorded by the school's surveillance cameras and suspended Slater the same day. Less than a week later, she has resigned.

Lantz met with the district Thursday, just hours before Slater announced her resignation, to watch the video. Lantz said her son, who has autism, was in the cafeteria with his aide, Mrs. Slater, when he was eating lunch.

Adison was spitting out his food and Lantz said Slater started force feeding him with a spoon, pushing his head back. Witnesses said Adison was crying and calling for his mother.

Slater then took Adison into the hallway and left him there. Three fifth-grade girls reported the incident to their principal, sparking the school to investigate.

"We were very concerned once we saw the video," McClard said. "We put our staff through some training to dealing with incidences of that nature. Specifically, handle with care training. We felt that that training wasn't being followed."
The Office of Children & Youth Services is also involved in the investigation.

Lantz said this is not the first time her son has had issues with Slater.

Lantz said Adison came home that day and was extremely upset.

“He said 'I had a very bad lunch,'” Lantz said. “And I asked 'You had a bad lunch?' He thought it was his fault, which broke my heart.”

Action News reached out to Slater for comment Thursday, but she did not return phone calls. 

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