As school districts across the state set aside funding for items such as classroom video cameras and expanded file storage capacity to start the school year, West Virginians got a reminder of the horrific case that prompted a law to require such additions.
Earlier last week, Kanawha County Schools and former teacher Nancy Boggs settled lawsuits totalling nearly $12 million in cases involving Boggs’ abuse of special education students in her classroom.
According to the Associated Press, Boggs was seen on surveillance video abusing multiple students at Holz Elementary School in Charleston, in 2021. She admitted to hitting one student with a cabinet door, pulling her hair and pulling a chair out from under her. Boggs also admitted to slamming another child’s head into a desk and slapping a third child.
As Boggs was being sentenced to 10 years in prison for her crimes, County Judge Maryclaire Akers said the teacher made her “classroom into a place of what can only be described as torture.”
It is difficult to believe, though we know other communities across the state have dealt with similar instances in which monsters masquerading as educators made their way into classrooms. Boggs’ case is all the more nauseating because she was dealing with special education students, but ALL students should believe they are safe and cared-for in school.
Perhaps the new law will make some headway in that regard, as state law now requires cameras in classrooms, and video footage must be kept for a full year and be regularly viewed by administrators.
There can be no leniency should those administrators spot something that must be reported not only to parents and the board of education, but the police.
Attorney Ben Salango, who represented three of the seven plaintiffs, called Boggs’ case “probably one of the worst abuses we’ve seen in West Virginia.”
Money won’t bring back what those students and their families lost, but it might serve as a reminder to any administrator or board thinking of sweeping under the rug similar behavior by teachers or staff.
If it saves even one kid from facing what the children in Boggs’ classroom faced, even Kanawha County officials will have to agree, it is worth every penny.School Safety
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