The Abusive Teachers Who Remain in Berkeley County Schools, West Virginia
Yes, there are so many good ones, but as a special needs mama, we should not ignore the bad.
Don’t forget about Loretta Redmer.
It was the 2009-2010 school year when Reanna Viands went to Principal Tana Burkhart regarding an incident with Loretta Redmer, teacher aide at Opequon Elementary School. At the time, Redmer was an aide in Viand’s son’s inclusive second grade classroom. She witnessed Redmer speak to children harshly in the cafeteria and says, “She yelled at them as if they were dogs.” Her son had a lot of stomach issues and headaches that year and, in hindsight, believes it was due to Redmer.
Also that year, Bethany Barahona went to Principal Burkhart regarding bruises on her nonverbal son in that same classroom with Loretta Redmer. Burkhart stated, “Loretta is an amazing teacher and would never abuse a child because she has a child with special needs.” Bethany followed up with Manny Arvon who dismissed her concerns and told her that her son was completely safe. At the time, he was coming home and having seizures, potty accidents, and many bruises. Arvon denied a transfer even after Bethany reported that Redmer was leading him around school with a harness and strapping him to a chair.
Two years later, Redmer was an aide in an Opequon kindergarten class. Nicole Ann, a student’s mother saw Redmer mistreat a child who had wet their pants and she told the principal, Tana Burkhart.
In 2014, the mother of a seven year old boy reported to Tana Burkhart, principal of Opequon Elementary that she had been told by an aide that first grade teacher Loretta Redmer had abused her seven year old son.
In 2018, Principal Burkhart called Tara White, the parent of a special education student to report that Redmer had hit her seven year old son who has autism, epilepsy and is nonverbal. The aide witnessed the abuse and went directly to Burkhart. Karen Petrucci, a special education coordinator with the school system, apologized and the family was told Redmer was gone. They went to the police and despite bruises on the boy’s face and back, Redmer was not charged.
Redmer is now a prek teacher at McGivney Hall, the Knights of Columbus Hall behind St. Leo’s in Inwood. It is a Berkeley County program not affiliated with the church. A church secretary let me know that the church has nothing to do with the teachers or property that is leased from the Knights of Columbus Council #10756 and that any questions should be directed to Berkeley County Schools.
When the Mauck family heard allegations shared by another parent, they pulled their child from the school along with another family. As of Friday, she was still an aide in a classroom filled with prekindergarten children and remains an employee of Berkeley County Schools.
Don’t forget about Doris Boyer.
In 2016, an aide reported that she witnessed, on a daily basis, Boyer physically and emotionally terrorizing the students in her class at Tuscarora Elementary School. The aide documented every occurrence which she reported to Principal Tyler Long. He referred her to the interim director of special education, Rick Duell and was told, “I was overstepping my bounds and that if I didn't keep my mouth shut I was going to lose my contract.”
In fact, Rick Duell told her on the last day of school that her contract would not be renewed and it wasn’t until families complained that she was allowed to stay. According to the aide, Karen Petrucci is well aware of the abuse that occurred and is still occurring.
This morning, Miss Boyer is in charge of a classroom filled with special needs children at Tuscarora and remains an employee of Berkeley County Schools.
Manny Arvon stated in November of 2018 that “Students must be assured that there will be consequences for anyone found to have harmed a student — anything less renders meaningless our responsibility to protect our students.”
Practice what you preach, Manny.