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April 22, 2019

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Police: Surveillance video shows aide physically abusing special-needs student

Clark County School District Police arrested 28-year-old Lachelle James, a teacher's aide at Variety High School, in connection with five counts of felony child abuse and one count of misdemeanor battery.

Clark County School District Police arrested 28-year-old Lachelle James, a teacher's aide at Variety High School, in connection with five counts of felony child abuse and one count of misdemeanor battery.

Video surveillance showing a teacher's aide physically abusing an 11-year-old student in a special-education classroom led to the aide's arrest Tuesday, according to an arrest report released Wednesday.

Lachelle James, 28, was charged with five counts of felony child abuse and one count of misdemeanor battery, according to Clark County Detention Center records. She was an aide at Variety High School, which serves children with special needs, and was working in a classroom for students who cannot speak or write, officials said.

Clark County School District Police installed surveillance cameras inside a classroom after receiving allegations of abuse from an unidentified source, according to the arrest report.

Detectives watching a live feed from the cameras Tuesday witnessed James drag a student face-first to the ground and pin him there with her body, the arrest report states.

James continued to drag, pin and yank the student — holding him in those positions for longer than 10 seconds each time, according to the arrest report.

Detectives noted the student did not appear to be resisting or combative prior to or during the interaction, according to the arrest report. James, however, appeared to prolong the abuse when the student touched her shoe twice.

Throughout the incident, detectives observed the student crawl under a table, appear to cry and ultimately climb into a padded container, the arrest report states.

Later in the day, detectives saw James shove another student against cabinets and pin him there by holding his face for 10 seconds, according to the arrest report.

Police showed the surveillance video to the school’s assistant principal and special education facilitator, both of whom said the use of restraint on the first student did not appear to be appropriate, the arrest report states.

Police then transported James to the Clark County Detention Center, where she provided a voluntary recorded statement.

James told police the 11-year-old had bit another student earlier in the day and tried to attack her by punching her in the feet — the same incident police observed to be the boy touching her shoe, according to the arrest report.

Police in the felony child abuse counts, alleged James caused the 11-year-old student to “suffer unjustifiable physical pain and suffering by dragging him to the floor and using physical force to restrain him in a manner to cause pain and suffering,” detectives noted in the arrest report.

The battery count against James was in connection with her interaction involving the second student, police said.

James remains in the detention center without bail, according to jail records. Her first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

School district officials said James had worked at Variety High School since January 2005.

The district suspended her immediately without pay and will terminate her upon approval of an arbitrator or if she misses more than six days of school for being in jail, a School District spokeswoman said Tuesday.

School administrators plan to send a memo to Variety parents later today, officials said.

In initially reporting the incident Tuesday to the media, School District officials misspelled James’ name.

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