Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando aide suspended for slapping student's hand

BROOKSVILLE — Moton Elementary School paraprofessional Charles Giarratana said he was trying to protect a wheelchair-bound student from being pushed out of his chair.

The problem, he admits, was with how he did it.

As a result, Giarratana was suspended for two days and voluntarily agreed to transfer to Central High School as an special needs paraprofessional. He began Monday.

"As you have been successful in the past working with students of an older age, this assignment may be more suited to your strengths," superintendent Bryan Blavatt wrote in a letter, concluding the district's investigation.

On the way back from breakfast on Oct. 16, Giarratana, in his first year with Moton, was pushing a wheelchair-bound student's chair while holding another special needs student's hand.

The autistic student pushed the wheelchair to the side, causing the wheels to lift off the ground, Giarratana wrote in a statement. Acting instinctively, Giarratana said he smacked the student's hand, making a sound.

There was no visible discoloration on either hand, wrote principal Mark Griffith in a letter.

"We understand that your position is that you were acting in response to a safety concern for another child, but regardless of the circumstances, such inappropriate actions on your part do not reflect positively on your position," Blavatt wrote.

While Giarratana admitted he smacked the student's hand and that it was inappropriate, he never reported the incident to the administration.

It was first reported by a teacher who witnessed the incident.

Following the slap, Giarratana was immediately pulled from student contact.

He wrote that nothing in his work with high school students had prepared him how to alert a nonverbal student to the inappropriateness of tipping over a wheelchair-bound peer.

"I see the boundary never again to be crossed," Giarratana wrote.

He's been with the district since 1999 in a series of special needs positions, and he also worked as a teacher at Nature Coast Technical High School for a year and a half.

Before that, he was a minister for 11 years and a social worker for two, working with developmentally and emotionally disabled adults.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. Tweet him @HernandoTimes.

Hernando aide suspended for slapping student's hand 11/30/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 30, 2012 7:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Missouri governor halts man's execution after DNA questions

    Nation

    ST. LOUIS — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens halted Tuesday's scheduled execution of condemned killer Marcellus Williams after DNA raised questions about his guilt.

    This February 2014 photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Marcellus Williams. [Missouri Department of Corrections via AP]
  2. Suspect in robbery of Brandon woman, 86, has been arrested more than 40 times

    Crime

    BRANDON — One spring day in 2012, Marcus Wayne Hunt walked out the of Orient Road jail a free man after posting bail on a charge of fleeing from police and driving without a license

    This surveillance photo shows Marcus Hunt, 28, pointing a gun at an 86-year-old woman as she unloaded groceries from her car parked at her Brandon home on Monday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Hunt fled in the Toyota Corolla and was arrested shortly after midnight Tuesday. 
[Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Killings put spotlight on possible neo-Nazi threat

    Nation

    TAMPA — The friendship of the four young roommates — though cemented in the dark trappings of an obscure neo-Nazi group called Atomwaffen Division — never seemed destined for bloodshed.

    This undated photo provided by Kianna Kaizer, shows  Jeremy Himmelman and his girlfriend Kianna Kaizer. Himmelman was fatally shot along with his friend Andrew Oneschuk, 18, by a roommate in the Tampa apartment the men all shared.  [AP photo]
  4. Fire at Wesley Chapel home leads to discovery of marijuana plants

    Fire

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A fire that broke out Monday at a Wesley Chapel home led to the discovery of a room with marijuana plants, the Pasco Sheriff's Office said.

  5. Kriseman gets 2nd police union endorsement

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement