Parents say nonverbal Middletown kindergartener with autism abused in school

A group of parents and advocates in the Middletown school district held a news conference Wednesday demanding better transparency after a girl with autism was allegedly abused by an aide during an incident in class.

Blaise Gomez

Oct 26, 2022, 9:47 PM

Updated 578 days ago

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A group of parents and advocates in the Middletown school district held a news conference Wednesday demanding better transparency after a little girl with autism was allegedly abused by an aide during an incident in class. 
Mia Williams, 5, is a kindergartener who is nonverbal and autistic.
“On Friday, Oct. 7, my husband and I were vaguely made aware of an incident involving physical misconduct against our daughter,” said Catherine Whaley-Williams. 
Catherine and her husband, Anthony, say Middletown administration told them their daughter was allegedly grabbed by the wrist and forcefully placed in a seat by an aide at Maple Hill Annex at Truman Moon during an incident in which a second special-needs child was dragged into a hallway. 
Since then, Mia’s parents say there’s been no transparency about what allegedly happened - adding they’ve been made to feel like their daughter doesn’t matter. 
The parents say their requests to meet with administration have gone unheard, along with their requests for copies of reports and a safety plan for their daughter – who has yet to return to school. 
Middletown Superintendent Amy Creeden says her office worked tirelessly on the investigation and that the aide involved is no longer in school. 
“We investigated the matter thoroughly, reported the allegations to the police and District Attorney and requested a criminal investigation,” said Creeden. “We have fulfilled all our duties in a manner consistent with our professional obligations to our valued school community."  
But Mia’s parents and advocates say that’s not enough. 
“The blatant disrespect of ignoring our pleas and our cries as parents has to stop,” said Nicole Vanterpool, a local parent who began advocating for children with special needs after an incident with her son on a Middletown district school bus last year. 
“For three days consecutively, he came home with blue lips. When I questioned the bus company, I was told, ‘Why didn’t he speak?' When I started my conversation with them, I explained my son was nonverbal.” 
Vanterpool says her son, who also has autism, displayed visible signs that the air conditioning on his bus was too cold for the 6-year-old and alleges no one noticed. 
The advocate says her experience was different then Ms. Williams’ and that her concerns were responded to.
The Middletown school district has not commented on Vanterpool’s allegations.
“We come here before the community today to share a call of action that our Middletown school district does better,” said Whaley-Willaims. “Do better with reporting incidents. Do better with informing parents of their rights. Do better with collaborating with parents.” 
Mia’s parents say they were told days later that the investigation into their daughter’s case found the allegations did not meet the state’s criteria for abuse.  
The Middletown school district has not confirmed the findings. 


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