Mom: Teacher asst. cut girl with Down Syndrome's hair without pe - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Mom: Teacher asst. cut girl with Down Syndrome's hair without permission

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A Rowan County mother is angry after she says an employee at her daughter's school cut the young special needs girl's hair without asking for her permission.

Jessica Stirewalt said that teacher's assistant Monica Becker cut the hair of Stirewalt's 7 year old daughter, Jesslynn Poole. 

Poole has Down Syndrome and is in a class for exceptional children at Millbridge Elementary School.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the Rowan Salisbury School System says it was wrong for a teacher's assistant to cut the young girl's hair without the permission of the girl's parents.

Stirewalt says that her daughter's hair was cut because it was getting in the child's food and was matted. 

Stirewalt is upset that no one asked her permission about the haircut, and she says that when she contacted school officials, they did not act on her complaint.

Tuesday afternoon the school system released the following statement to WBTV through Public Information Officer Rita Foil:

School employees, while responsible for the well-being of students at school, must not make decisions for students in place of their parents.
 
Teachers and other school employees often are called upon to help students in ways that go beyond just classroom instruction.  You will find many cases where teachers and other staff help students obtain school supplies, clean clothes, and other essentials.  
 
However, a decision to cut a student's hair, regardless of how well intentioned, clearly belongs to the student's family and parents. Our administrators have taken  steps to be sure that our employees understand this.
 
In the case that has recently been reported at Millbridge Elementary, the school principal had school staff contact the parent immediately after he learned about the incident.  The principal was preparing to call the parent himself shortly afterward when the parent called him first.  The principal apologized and confirmed that school staff should not have cut a student's hair without permission.

Also late on Tuesday, WBTV asked Foil if any disciplinary action had been taken against Becker. 

"Ms. Becker is currently employed as a teacher assistant / substitute bus driver. We cannot address information that is legally protected by personnel confidentiality," officials told WBTV.

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