Teacher accused of putting plastic bag over student's head - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Teacher accused of putting plastic bag over student's head

By Jordan Sandler - bio | email

ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - Orangeburg County deputies are investigating accusations that a high school teacher put a plastic bag over a student's head.

"He was just a little bit scared," said David Smith.

Smith has spent the last week consoling his son, a 14-year-old special needs student at Cordova's Edisto High School.

"It is the duty of our district to teach our children and to protect them," Smith said.

Smith says last Thursday, the boy's teacher, 61-year-old Paul Jensen, put a plastic bag over his son's head. Orangeburg District Four Superintendent Thomas Sparks will only confirm that a physical altercation was witnessed by a teacher's aide. It happened in front of a full classroom.

Jensen is suspended without pay until the sheriff's department completes an investigation.

"I'm a little bit disgusted," Smith commented.

Smith says he trusted Jensen after meeting him at the start of the school year. He expected a different kind of judgement.

"Our government even prints on there do not give it to small children," he continued. "So when you have a 14-year-old that has quite a bit of a disability as far as mental status, it's very alarming."

The superintendent says this is the second time this school year that Jensen has been investigated for being physical with one of his students. He says on August 28, Jensen restrained another student in the same classroom too forcefully. He was put on paid leave for ten days before an internal investigation determined that those actions were accidental.

Smith says he was never notified about that incident in August.

"I hope this is a wake up call to any parents with handicapped children," Smith commented.

Smith now worries his son might suffer some trauma from this experience. At the least, he's concerned about the behavior his son might have learned.

"I'd hate for him to be playing with some of his fellow students and maybe think they did something wrong and try to administer this as punishment also," he said.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams said if the allegations turn out to be true, he will do "whatever is necessary in the best interest of the victim/child."

Smith said he doesn't know whether he'll keep his son home from school, but he is sure of one thing.

"If Paul Jensen is back teaching again, my son won't be here," Smith said firmly.

Copyright 2009 WIS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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