Board fires teacher accused of lowering boy into trash

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) – Education officials have voted to fire a Georgia special education teacher accused of putting a student with autism in a trash can.

Local media report the Cobb County School Board on Thursday voted to terminate 45-year-old Mary Katherine Pursley’s contract for the 2015-16 school year.

Pursley said at a hearing Monday at the school district office that she was trying to calm the child. She said he was screaming and upset at an after-school program. She said she compared his behavior to Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street and held him over a trash can to “shake out the grouchy.”

School system attorneys say Pursley “engaged in inappropriate physical contact” with the boy.

Pursley’s attorney Warren Fortson said her behavior wasn’t inappropriate and shouldn’t have resulted in termination.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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