Tiffany Meyer's son is just 7 years old and has special needs. Communicating what he had for dinner is difficult, let alone remembering what he did yesterday. So when the Stevens Point mother learned a teacher was on administrative leave because of something that happened with him at school, she expected district administrators to tell her the whole story. But she says they've left her in the dark for nearly two weeks now about the well-being of her own child.
Shortly after 8 p.m. on October 2, Meyer received a call from the principal at her son's school, Madison Elementary in Stevens Point.
"All he could tell me was that another adult staff member witnessed the gym teacher pulling on my son," Meyer said. "And that it didn't seem right and that he was visually upset."
The principal said the district was investigating the incident, and that he couldn't go into further details.
"I don't care whose hands are tied, I should have been informed. And I should have been informed way before eight in the evening," Meyer said.
The following day, Meyer called law enforcement, looking for help. Although no police report had been filed, an officer was able to get in touch with the school and fill in a few missing pieces about the teacher's actions.
"He was walking with my son in adult man strides and my son was walking in little first grader strides and that he looked like he was being pulled along impatiently," she says the officer told her.
Meyer says she's even walked quickly with her son. Yet the teacher was placed on paid administrative leave immediately following the incident. Meyer felt something didn't add up.
"It's hard to sleep at night, knowing, not knowing anything really," she said. "I can't even really send my son to school. I don't feel like I can really send him to the school knowing that I'm not getting told maybe everything."
Next, Meyer turned to NewsChannel 7. Her brother wrote a post on our Facebook page, describing his sister's situation. Dozens of responses followed, and it prompted another call--this time from the superintendent.
"He told me that there were rumors going around about something that had been posted online," she said. "He asked me, do I know anything about it. And that if anything was said in that posting online that was against the school, or the district, that it would be possible for them to press charges against me or file a lawsuit against me."
In a conversation with NewsChannel 7, Superintendent Attila Weninger refused to talk about the phone call.
"I can't comment on my discussion with a parent," Weninger said. "That was a private conversation that took place. I won't comment on it."
Weninger also said he couldn't talk about the incident, pending the open investigation. He says he understands Meyer's concerns, but stands by the district's policy in handling these types of personnel-student cases.
"You have to keep in mind, that an incident occurs during the day and if we're not able to talk with all of the people involved immediately, then we don't have all of the information," he said. "So what we do is we give parents as much information as we have at that moment."
Meyer says it wasn't enough. She's already transferred her son to a new school, with a new teacher she trusts. He began classes on Monday, Oct. 15.
"I'd do anything for him," Meyer said. "I'll be his voice, I'll be his advocate. And nothing will get in the way of me doing that."
No criminal or civil charges have been filed yet against the district or the employee, but Meyer says she is still working to get answers.
A note from NewsChannel 7 about this story:
Because the Stevens Point School District would not confirm the identity of the teacher involved, NewsChannel 7 has decided not to name the person in the story above.
TIffany Meyer also asked NewsChannel 7 not to share her son's name to protect his privacy.