Autistic student dragged down hallways by teacher and nurse


LEXINGTON, Ky. (ABC) – A Lexington mom wants answers about surveillance video capturing her autistic 11-year old son Thatcher being dragged through the halls by a teacher and a school nurse at Tates Creek Middle School.

“I’m just like, why would they do that?” said Thatcher’s mother, Jo Grayson.

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At one point, the pair is seen on the video dragging Thatcher up a flight of stairs.  Thatcher’s service dog was forced to follow along.  Thatcher, who has non-verbal autism, is visibly uncomfortable in the video.

“He’s clearly screaming, he doesn’t want them to do this,” said Grayson.

Jo Grayson says the teacher texted her saying Thatcher refused to stand, so they picked him up.  At home, Grayson noticed bumps and bruises on her son’s body and turned to the school with questions.

The incident has now prompted investigations by school officials and state authorities.

“He’ll remember this for the rest of his life, autism or no autism, any kid would remember that,” said Grayson.

In a statement to ABC News, the district said, “Incidents of this nature are isolated.”  And, “There is absolutely no tolerance for the conduct of the employee in this incident.”  Adding, “the teacher involved in this instance is no longer employed with the Fayette County Public Schools.”

Grayson believes the incident, isolated or not, points to a bigger issue.  And, says teachers should have better training to handle students with disabilities like Thatcher.

Grayson says this whole incident was a developmental setback for Thatcher.  And, that the fact that he’s nonverbal and can’t tell her when something has happened, makes her more nervous about sending him back to school.


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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.