Wicksburg Aide Accused of Abuse Resigns

Houston County - The Houston County School Board took action Tuesday in the case of suspected abuse of a 10-year-old student with cerebral palsy at Wicksburg High School.

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe something like this would happen,” said Melisha Salinas.

She had suspicion her son, Jose “Little Joe” Salinas’, wasn’t being treated properly at school by his teacher, Alicia Brown, and aide, Drew Faircloth.

After attaching a tape recorder to wheelchair, her suspicions were confirmed. On the tapes, you can hear harsh comments by both Brown and Faircloth.

They were initially placed on administrative leave with pay, but allowed to return after a couple of days. Pitchford said this was a mistake, and they were placed back on administrative leave.

Now Faircloth and Brown have put in their resignations. Faircloth’s was accepted effective immediately, but Brown had one condition. She wants to stay employed through the end of the year.

“I could not accept any resignation where there were any conditions or strings attached,” said Houston County Superintendent of Education, Tim Pitchford.

He said the next step is to recommend the board terminate Brown’s contract. She will be presented with a 30 day notice. Then, the school board will place a vote in May. While some may feel this is taking too long, it’s the law.

Pitchford said, “People felt like this was not moving fast enough, but again I mentioned this is a new Student First Act. It’s a new law. What we’ve done has been very deliberate to make sure that there’s no mistakes made could come back on the board and all of it thrown out.”

“To me it’s still not over. I’m still very upset by it,” Salinas said.

But Pitchford does take the blame.

“Anger does not need to be toward the principal, the coordinator, the school, or the board, it needs to be toward me. I’m responsible,” he said.

Now, Little Joe is in a new classroom with a different teacher and aide. He is being tutored twice a week after school to make up for the past two years. Salinas says he’s showing improvement.

“He hasn’t actually gotten sick since then. He hasn’t come home nauseous, throwing up. He’s actually as happy as can be. The children in school say he’s so much happier and smiling all the time. They didn’t realize he could talk and be that interactive as he is now,” she said.

She hopes her story will help others.

“Take action. If you think something like this is going on, investigate it. Believe your children,” she said.

Salinas is also filing a civil lawsuit. At this time there have been no charges filed.

Brown’s certification could also be revoked. The school board is required to send an explanation when a teacher is placed on administrative leave. It is then up to the state department of education to decide if the teacher should lose certification.

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  • by Samantha Brick Location: Dothan on Apr 17, 2012 at 07:22 AM
    Houston County Schools suck anyways. I have my kids in 2 of their schools 2 are at Webb Elementary (They are ok) The other one is at HCHS (They suck big time) The principle let me tell you is a piece of work along with some of the sports coaches and don't get me started on the bulling that goes on at HCHS. You can tell them and they don't give a rat's behind. The people at HCHS the authorities there don't care about you as a parent to try to work with you. I am so fed up I am about to go to a board meeting and tell them exactly how I feel about it. I also am thinking about pulling my kids out of the system and home-schooling them at least they will have a better education.
  • by farmergirl Location: Wicksburg on Apr 4, 2012 at 08:09 AM
    FIRE PITCHFORD! His leadership sets the tone for the entire system. Parents are never valued by him. Check his record!
    • reply
      by HATEFARMGIRLS on Apr 5, 2012 at 11:51 AM in reply to farmergirl
      So, What got your panties in a knot?
  • by Chrystal Location: Eufaula Al on Apr 3, 2012 at 05:51 PM
    Way to go mom..more people should be looked into at the school and the principal too...
  • by Pinky Location: Panama City on Apr 3, 2012 at 05:14 PM
    What a smart thing to do by the Mom.Mom's know when their children are in distress and thank goodness she acted and didn't wait.Fire both teacher's and be done with it.
    • reply
      by kathy on Apr 3, 2012 at 05:50 PM in reply to Pinky
      and make sure they will never ever be able to work in the school system.. In any school district...
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