NEW ALBANY, Ind. – A teachers union has filed a grievance on behalf of a kindergarten teacher who was suspended after a student's parents produced a recording they say shows she verbally abused their son.
The recording was made when 5-year-old Gabe Ross carried a digital recorder in his pocket to S. Ellen Jones Elementary School in New Albany so his parents could hear how the teachers he complained about were treating him.
In the recording, which was provided to The Tribune of New Albany, two women can be heard. One of the women tells the boy he is being "pathetic."
When another student comes to find out what's wrong, she tells the class about Ross' behavior problems. "If you want to act like him, then go ahead and be his friend," a voice on the recording says.
Ross' stepfather, J.R. Edwards, said he was concerned about the "psychological impact" on the boy.
"If he's not OK, I want her held accountable for it," Edwards said.
The Indiana Teachers Association, which has represented Kristen Woodward, filed the grievance last week to argue that she was unfairly disciplined by administrators in the district just north of Louisville, Ky.
Carol Mooney, a spokeswoman for the association, said administrators violated a part of the contract that requires teachers to be treated "with respect and human dignity" by imposing a suspension.
"It's very unfortunate that all of this has come out so one sided that this public employee doesn't feel she can talk pending the outcome of her employment status," Mooney said.
Woodward could not be located for comment as there is no telephone listing in her name in the New Albany area.