Para educator arrested in Bartow, accused of child abuse on special needs students

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 17:45:51-05

BARTOW, Fla. — A Bartow para educator was arrested for child abuse after multiple incidents of reported abuse against special needs students.

Detectives learned about the possible child abuse on Monday at the Jean O'Dell Learning Center.

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It was discovered that Shelby Faulk, a para educator employed by the Polk County School Board used abusive physical contact on three separate students during class sessions.

The Jean O'Dell Learning Center is a school for special needs children, where Faulk has worked for about four years.

The incidents happened in December of 2017 and January of 2018.

One of the students wears a special jacket with D rings in order to secure him to a seat on the school bus for health reasons. Out of frustration in the classroom, Faulk reportedly used the student's medical use jacket and pinned the student to the ground by placing a chair leg through the rings, then sitting on the chair, rendering the child unable to move. She reportedly held the student down for an extended time.

Later that month, Faulk repeatedly pinched and pushed another student as a discipline measure for acting out.

In January, Faulk repeatedly pushed another student multiple times with both hands, causing the student to fall to the floor.

None of the actions taken by Faulk were approved by school administration.

Faulk was arrested for Negligent Child Abuse without bodily harm and False Imprisonment of a child.

The teacher assigned to the classroom, Julio Torres, was present in the classroom at the time and failed to report any of the actions. For that reason he was arrested for failure to report child abuse.

Bartow Police Detectives are working closely with Polk County School Board Staff to determine if there are any other incidents involving the two Defendants.  At this time, there are no indications that any other abuse has occurred.  The parents of the involved children are being notified by school administration.