Amaria Clark, who is developmentally delayed, was a student at Airbase Elementary School in Homestead, Florida until her mother pulled her from class following the encounter with a teacher.
According to mother Adah Clark, witnesses saw the teacher – an unnamed white woman who has been with the Miami-Dade County school district for over 45 years – grab her daughter Amaria Clark’s wrist before she got on the bus to go home.
“When my child gets off the bus, other children were all around me, telling me what happened,” Adah told CBS 4. “It didn’t make sense, but by the time I got to Amaria, her arms told it all.”
The teacher reportedly accused the 2nd-grader of stealing a cellphone and grabbed her wrist so forcefully that she was left with bruises. After seeing Amaria’s injuries, Adah took her daughter to the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s urgent care unit and reported the assault to the Miami-Dade County Police Department.
“Once the doctor came back and had to wrap her little wrist, I just broke. She went from doing cartwheels up and down to now having to rest her hand on a pillow because it hurt,” Adah said, adding that Amaria suffered a sprained arm from the assault and now has to wear a sling.
Earlier this month, Adah told CBS 4 that she plans to file a federal lawsuit against the teacher, school district, principal and others involved.
“I sent her to school. The way I send her to school is the way I expect her to come back,” she said.
Adah described Amaria, who is also developmentally challenged and requires an Individual Education Plan (IEP), as “loving,” “sweet” and “kind” and not “an evil child” or “vicious child.”
The family believes the teacher’s assault was in retaliation for Amaria being recently transferred out of her class. On one occasion, Adah says the teacher would not allow Amaria to use the restroom, despite her suffering from bladder issues that require treatment from a urologist. After this, administrators removed Amaria from the woman’s class and the bus incident occurred soon after.
The school district previously released a statement about the assault and claimed the teacher did nothing wrong.
“These are serious allegations that were thoroughly investigated as soon as they were first reported. The investigation was concluded with a finding of no probable cause,” the statement read.
However, lawyers representing the girl’s family have disputed this.
“There was no clearing,” attorney Frank Allen said in a statement. “Once we get a chance to depose officials at the school, the teacher and some of these students, then we’ll see if she’s cleared.”
In their lawsuit, the family is also claiming the teacher violated Amaria’s 14th Amendment right. The woman’s actions were also a “violation of the American With Disabilities Act, assault & battery, false imprisonment, displayed negligence and infliction of emotional and physical distress on the child,” it adds.