Former school aide charged with assault and battery after allegedly “grabbing student by the neck and shoulders”

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 7:57 PM EDT
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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A former instructional aide at a Roanoke County Public School is facing assault and battery charges. A school incident report states the aide grabbed a four-year-old by the shoulders and neck.

The child’s mother, Julie Mitchell, shared her frustration and heartbreak in a Facebook post that now has close to 1,000 shares.

Mitchell’s son, Lucas, has an IEP plan for educational learning and speech, so an aide helps his PRE-K teachers at Cave Spring Elementary.

She says it happened May 23, 2023 at lunchtime. According to the school’s incident report, Lucas was playing on a school playground slide when instructional aide Judy Foutz told him to come down. Another teacher reported Foutz grabbed Lucas by the wrists, then pulled him off the ground from his shoulders and neck.

WDBJ7 sat down and spoke with Mitchell about the incident.

“[It was on the playground] where he got hurt even more with him saying ‘Ow you’re hurting me, my arm hurts,” Mitchell said. “Then there was the bruising on his neck.”

Lucas went to the nurse around 12:30 p.m., and the Cave Spring Elementary School principal called Mitchell around 3 p.m.

“I immediately called the police [after that],” Mitchell said.

Roanoke County Police arrested Foutz that night and charged her with assault and battery.

“My son can’t defend himself. He can’t talk back; that’s why he has an IEP,” Mitchell said. “He can’t properly communicate the way an average four-year-old can.”

Mitchell explained it’s been an emotional week.

“As a parent, I’m his voice, and I couldn’t be there at the school to be his voice and that just breaks my heart,” Mitchell said. “I thought I could trust her, I thought I could trust the school; they let me down. They let my son down.”

Roanoke County Public Schools confirmed Judy Foutz no longer works for Cave Spring Elementary.

“The safety of our students remains a top priority. RCPS began taking appropriate steps as soon as we were made aware of the concern. The matter is under further investigation,” Director of Community Relations Chuck Lionberger said. “Ms. Foutz was an employee with RCPS. She is no longer an employee.”

Mitchell explained how she’s upset with how the school handled an aide hurting her son.

“I want the school to take some accountability here and realize that this is not how you handle children,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell filed a court restraining order against the aide while the case waits to go to court.

“I think that she deserves to be behind bars,” Mitchell said. “You do not put your hands on a child.”

Mitchell told WDBJ7 she is meeting with the school’s superintendent Wednesday afternoon.