Criminal summons details charges against LCHS employees

Published 11:05 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

This story was updated at 2:12 p.m.

STANFORD – Criminal abuse charges have been filed against three Lincoln County High School (LCHS) employees for their alleged involvement in a physical altercation with an autistic student, according to a criminal summons.

The charges were the result of an internal investigation which was opened following a Jan. 3 incident in the Alternate Curriculum classroom at LCHS.

Rebecca Spurlock, Janie Hasty and Teresa Sparkman were charged with second-degree criminal abuse as a result of the investigation.

According to the criminal summons addressed to Spurlock, on Jan. 3 while working as a teacher in a “Special Ed class” at LCHS, a student who has autism and is non-verbal is seen on video walking around the room when the instructional assistant, Janie Hasty, allegedly starts punching at his head, “taunting the student.”

“(Then) Teresa Sparkman and Janie (Hasty), whom are instructional assistants, had the student in a corner on the ground, Janie (Hasty) twisted his arm and then pulled him up off of the floor and shoved him. At one point Teresa (Sparkman) laughed,” the criminal summons states.

The summons continues to state that the food cart was brought into the room and when the student went to get his food, Hasty pushed him down.

“The student gets up by himself,” the summons states. “During the incident above, the above subject (Spurlock) is standing up with eight or nine students gathered around. At no point did the above subject (Spurlock) try to intervene and stop the incident from happening.”

On Wednesday, Lincoln County Attorney Day said three employees of the Lincoln County School District have been charged with second-degree criminal abuse, a class D felony in Kentucky.

Rowe issued a press release Tuesday, both as the Superintendent and as a “father of two school-aged children.”

“If the investigation confirms the allegations, I will be sickened and dismayed,” Rowe said. “School employees are placed in a position of absolute trust Students and their families should always have confidence in that. We realize trust within our own system may have been broken due to the actions of a few. This does not reflect our staff overall, and we will work diligently to regain the trust and confidence in us.”

The statement goes on to say the Lincoln County School District will not tolerate inappropriate behavior or contact between adults and students.

“Any allegations will be handed over immediately to law enforcement for investigation, and if verified, will lead to arrest, prosecution, and termination of employment to ensure these individuals can never work with children again.”

Rowe said communication with stakeholders is “key now and moving forward.”

The Lincoln County Board of Education meets tonight at 6 p.m. at the Student Support Center on Danville Avenue. The meeting is open to the public.

The ongoing investigation is being handled by the Kentucky State Police.

UPDATE

The Lincoln County School District has completed its initial investigation into the allegations and as a result, Hasty and Sparkman, the two instructional assistants, have been terminated from their positions with the Lincoln County School District effective immediately.

Spurlock, the teacher involved, has been reassigned to a position at the Student Support Center for the remainder of the school year, according to a press release from Lincoln County Superintendent Michael Rowe.

“With pending investigations from outside agencies, we are unable to share additional information at this time,” the press release states.