Former Crestline teacher seen on video dragging student with autism faces loss of license

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CRESTLINE, Ohio — A shocking video of a student being dragged has led to a recommendation of action against his teacher.

A state investigator says the former Crestline teacher no longer belongs in any classroom.

10TV talked to the mother of the 7-year-old student in August of 2017.

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Bonnie McKean said then her son could be a handful, admitting sometimes, his outbursts turn physical.

"He will hit, he will kick. Scream, throw things. And then it's really hard and it's really a challenge. I'm his mom, I know," she said.

The boy has autism. Bonnie said that requires a calm, measured response, even in his bad moments.

"We have to keep ourselves calm. The calmer we are, the quicker it will end. And then once he calms down, you can completely reason with him."

She was horrified by a May 2017 incident captured on school video.

It shows the boy defying his teacher and aide as they try to escort him to the office.

Then, they pick him up, and his teacher drags him by the foot.

The case against former teacher Hannah Ruth went before an Ohio Department of Education hearing officer in September of this year.

Last week, the hearing officer issued a report, calling the "entire video appalling," saying Ruth "no longer belongs in a classroom."

Ruth testified that the day of this incident, the student "became aggressive and would not calm down... kept dropping to his knees, and when the aide went to lift him up, he flung his head back and head butted her in the eye."

Ruth admitted that in carrying, then dragging the student, she did not use approved Crisis Prevention Intervention techniques she'd been trained in.

But she testified "she did not do anything wrong... that she would do the same thing again to keep a student safe."

The hearing officer disagreed, saying Ruth handled the boy "like she was dragging a sack of potatoes," calling her actions "inappropriate and unprofessional."

She recommended Ruth's teaching license be revoked and that she "no longer be permitted to hold any position in any school district... that requires a license."

The State Board of Education will decide whether to accept those recommendations early next year.

Crestline Schools put Ruth and her aide on leave in 2017, and both later resigned.

10TV tried to reach Ruth's attorney for comment, but did not hear back.

This case has taken nearly two and a half years to get to this point.

10Investigates has previously reported on long backlogs and delays in teacher discipline at the Ohio Department of Education.

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