BREVARD COUNTY, FL – A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed against Brevard County Schools by attorney, Aaron Carter Bates, on behalf of a classroom developmentally disabled students at Ralph Williams Elementary School. The lawsuit alleges that all five students, between ages 7 and 8, were subjected to repeated physical, emotional, and psychological abuse at the hands of their Exceptional Student Education teacher, Stacey Garzione.
Multiple teacher’s aides in Garzione’s classroom witnessed the abuse over the course of weeks. Incidents of physical and psychological abuse included frequent and improper uses of restraint, infliction of pain by way of touching pressure points and nerves, stepping on toes and fingers with entire body weight, and improper use of decompression methods resulting in the restriction of student’s ability to breathe. Garzione’s aides were also instructed on ways to inflict physical pain on a student without leaving any bruising or marks.
The lawsuit alleges Garzione purposefully inflicted emotional and psychological abuse on students, causing breakdowns through humiliation, mocking, and videotaping students without consent. Garzione bragged to coworkers that she would be fired if videos of these incidents captured on her cell phone were ever seen outside of the school. Otherwise, she was protected by the Principal and administration at Ralph Williams.
Teacher’s aides describe a system where they feared for their job security if they questioned Garzione’s methods. Further, Ralph Williams Administration not only failed to supervise and prevent Garzione’s abuse of students, they empowered her actions by removing any teacher’s aide that voiced concerns regarding her misconduct. According to Garzione’s aides, they feared termination as a result of stepping forward with evidence of abuse.