Clearwater teacher accused of kicking and hitting special needs - WFLA News Channel 8

Clearwater teacher accused of kicking and hitting special needs students

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Melanie Jo Fox, 44 Melanie Jo Fox, 44
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

A Skycrest Elementary School teacher is facing charges she kicked and hit at least two special needs children.

Melanie Jo Fox, 44, was arrested on Thursday on child abuse charges.

Clearwater police detectives said Fox is accused of kicking and hitting a 6-year-old special needs girl. In at least one incident, Fox is accused of binding the girls hands with tape.

In another incident, police said Fox, who is an Exceptional Student Education teacher at the school, pushed an 8-year-old special needs boy down and tied his hands with a rubber band. The child's mother is very upset.  Cotie Andrade said her son has a small heart, and has survived 3 surgeries to save his life.  "I go to work and now I have to worry every day if something going on with my son and before it was , is he gonna make it another day?" she said.

The boy's grandmother wants cameras to be installed in the classrooms to watch students and teachers. "The appalling thing is, if this has been going on since January, why hasn't any of the other teachers stepped forward before this?" asked Cheryl Radenbaugh.

School officials said Fox started with the district 2004 and was hired as full-time teacher the following year. She had no prior disciplinary actions on her record, according to school officials.

Police said they believe the abuse started in January and continued until last week.

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