Three Horace Mann Middle School employees facing battery charges

Police say abuse of special needs students was physical and verbal
Three Horace Mann Middle School employees facing battery charges
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 4:38 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Three employees from Horace Mann Middle School in Charleston are facing battery charges after police say they were caught on camera abusing students in a special needs classroom.

Police say the abuse was physical and verbal.

Walter Pannel, who, according to HMMS’s website, is an aide at the middle school, is accused of pushing, dragging and spanking a student with developmental disabilities. According to a criminal complaint, Pannel also threatened to “punch the student in the nose” if they did not stop looking at his sandwich. He is facing battery charges.

Lillian Branham, who is also listed as an aide, is accused of slapping a non-verbal student on the hands, grabbing them by their chin and slapping them multiple times with an open hand, causing the student to raise their hands and curl up in defense. She is facing battery charges.

Anthony Wilson, who is listed as a “severe/profound teacher” on Horace Mann Middle School’s website, is accused of forcefully grabbing a non-verbal student by the arm, and holding the student while an aide shook and spanked the student. He is also accused of helping an aide sling the student onto a beanbag chair while the student almost struck their head on a cabinet.

We are working to learn more about the situation. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

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