A Texas teacher and her two assistants are facing charges in relation to a punishment they dished out to a student last year, in which they locked the five-year-old in an isolation room for so long that he began to eat his own feces.
Melody LaPointe, 47, Tarah Tinney, 33, and Augusta Costlow, 27, were arrested earlier this month in relation to the ordeal – which transpired at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District in April 2021.
They are each facing four counts of abandoning or endangering a child, after putting the pupil in isolation for hours without access to food.
Eventually, the youngster, who has special needs, became so starved, he began eating his own feces and drinking his urine, a criminal complaint alleges.
What’s more, while confined to the room, the little boy fell and injured himself – but the three staffers, the suit charges, did nothing to help him.
According to a spokesperson for the district, the two assistants, Tinney and Costlow, were put on administrative leave during an internal investigation last year.
That investigation, officials said, saw them resign once the probe was completed.
LaPointe, the main teacher in the classroom, also resigned, but was able to find work at another nearby school district, at Hopper Primary in Houston. She was arrested November 17 on school grounds, in full view of her students and coworkers.
Texas teacher Melody LaPointe, 47, was put on leave after the incident pending an internal investigation. She was able to find work as a teacher at a nearby district before her and her former assistants arrested last week
Melody LaPointe, 47, Tarah Tinney, 33, and Augusta Costlow, 27, were arrested this month n relation to a punishment they dished out to a student last year, in which they locked the five-year-old in an isolation room for so long that he began to eat his own faeces
Parents with students at Hopper Primary received the following email shortly after students went home for the day.
‘In an effort of full transparency, we want to inform our families of an incident that occurred yesterday during dismissal,’ officials from the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District wrote.
‘A teacher at Bonnie P. Hopper Primary School was arrested yesterday by Liberty County constables.’
In the notice, staffers noted that the incident that spurred the instructor’s arrest ‘occurred in Liberty County and is not affiliated with Goose Creek CISD in any way.’
Officials added that ‘the teacher is currently placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation’ carried out by local police.
The assistants, meanwhile, were removed from their posts back in 2021, it has been revealed, along with their superior, who at some point would find work just a few miles away.
In the wake of the arrests last week, officials from the Liberty Independent School District issued their own statement citing this fact, iterating that the three were put on unpaid leave immediately after the district learned of the incident.
The incident transpired at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District in April of last year. It is not yet clear which of its nine schools where the incident transpired. Pictured is the district’s office in Liberty Texas
The alert, sent the same day as Liberty’s, stated: ‘We removed the educators, who continued to work for us, from the classroom, and conducted a comprehensive investigation.’
The letter did not specify which of its nine schools where the 2021 incident transpired.
It did reveal, however, that after an internal investigation, the district reported each of the educators to the State Board for Educator Certification, and shared the results with law enforcement officials.
A police probe was promptly launched, culminating in the trio’s arrests more than half a year later.
The three disgraced staffers are now accused of putting the boy into an isolation room within the unspecified Liberty Independent School District facility, which could see them each jailed for up to four years.
Meanwhile, parents are demanding answers as to why LaPointe was hired despite being the subject of such an investigation..
LaPointe, the main teacher in the classroom, was arrested November 17 at Hopper Primary in Houston, where she had worked for the past few months. She was arrested on school grounds, in full view of her students and coworkers. Parents have since complained that she was hired
‘I am scared to send my daughter to school,’ Amanda Henry, who has a 6-year-old daughter at Hopper Primary, said.
‘You are supposed to send them there to be protected, and they hire this lady who apparently they did not do an extensive background check on and hurt a child, left this child locked up in a room, having to eat his own feces and drink his own urine.
She added: ‘It’s disturbing.’
All three women have been booked into the Liberty County Jail. Their bonds have each been set at $60,000. A trial date has not yet been set.