(Free Press) -- Facing the ground with his torso stuck through the open back of aschool desk chair, a 10-year-old boy wipes tears from his eyes as aclassroom bustles around him.
"Do you want to get Tasered?" a woman asks.
Thecell phone video, shot last year at Oaktree Elementary in Goodrich, hasled to the resignation of the school's principal and the filing oftenure charges against the teacher who shot the video, according to anattorney for the boy's family.
The footage has sparked outrage butalso divided the rural community southeast of Flint. Some people haverallied behind the teacher, who could lose her job.
"I am almostat a loss for words, to be honest. My son did nothing wrong, but yetthis seems to be another case of blaming the victim," the boy's motherwrote in a letter to her attorney, Patrick Greenfelder.
Greenfeldersaid teacher Nicole McVey shot the video in November in her fifth-gradeclassroom. The boy stuck in the chair has Asperger's syndrome, a milderform of autism.
The school board decided last month to proceedwith tenure charges against McVey. The school's principal, MichaelEllis, has resigned.
On the 53-second video, a woman Greenfelderidentified as McVey says, "How did you get in that situation?" The boy,his face reddened, wipes his eyes.
"We are waiting for themaintenance to come help you get out because you can't get out withoutmaintenance help," the woman says. "If you wouldn't have put your headin there to begin with, we wouldn't be in this situation."
A man that Greenfelder identified as Ellis can be heard saying, "It's really not an emergency in their book."
Greenfeldersaid the boy broke blood vessels in his eyes as he struggled to freehimself. He believes the child was trapped for 10 to 15 minutes before amaintenance worker freed him.
"Watching the video of my sontrapped in the chair is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do,"the boy's mother wrote. "I felt incredibly helpless watching my sonsobbing on the screen. ... He was pleading for help, and they justcontinued to watch him and almost taunt him with their lack ofcompassion."
Greenfelder said McVey shot the video using the cellphone of a paraprofessional assigned as the boy's aide. He said McVeysent the video to her own e-mail, and that she, Ellis and theparaprofessional shared it with others.
"The teacher is sendingit to other teachers and her friends, and the principal is also sendingit around for laughs, apparently," he said.
McVey showed the video in her classroom, Greenfelder said.
Greenfeldersaid a bullying liaison at the school alerted Superintendent ScottBogner about the video. He showed it to the boy's parents.
Bognergave McVey and Ellis the option to resign or be fired, Greenfelder said.McVey is fighting to keep her job and, according to Greenfelder, hasbeen placed on paid administrative leave.
McVey and Ellis could not be reached by our news partners the Detroit Free Press.
Bognertold the Free Press in an e-mailed statement that he can't talk indetail about the case. He noted that, under teacher tenure law, McVeyhas a right to a private hearing.
"In any situation where tenurequestions are raised, the board judges the severity of the behaviorsagainst best educational practices and also against district policies,"he said. "In the event that the behaviors are clearly not in keepingwith the policies of the district, raise concerns about professionaljudgment or concerns regarding activities associated with the childrenin a particular classroom, then and only then would a board engage in adecision to file tenure charges."
Greenfelder said he decided topublicly release the video to a TV station earlier this week becausepeople have continued to express support for the teacher - and, in somecases, cast blame on the boy or his family.
During the Jan. 13school board meeting, several people spoke in support of McVey. Minutesfrom the meeting show that a fifth-grade student handed out a list from aFacebook page he made to support the teacher.
"He explained howthe event occurred the day and that the student involved was laughingand joking and telling kids and the lunch ladies what happened to him,"the minutes say. "He feels Mrs. McVey never made fun of him."
The school board voted 5-1 to proceed with tenure charges against McVey.
Theboy's mother said in the letter to her attorney that her son had arough morning and can get anxious over his math work. Squirming throughhis chair was his way of trying to get out of an unpleasant task, shesaid.
She said "Tasered" is supposedly a term sometimes used by the teacher as a joke, but "this was no time to be joking around."
She said she is concerned about her son being labeled as a problem child.
"Theanxiety I am experiencing over this is to the extreme," the womanwrote. "We didn't do anything wrong, and we are now having to defendourselves."
Greenfelder said no decision has been made about possible litigation.
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