Local News

State investigates abuse allegations at school for deaf

Posted July 16, 2010

— State Secretary of Health and Human Services Lanier Cansler on Friday launched an investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect of students at the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton.

School director Janet McDaniel was suspended Friday, pending the outcome of the investigation, officials said. Esther Brassell, who oversees student support services at the school, will serve as acting director during the investigation.

DHHS Deputy Secretary Maria Spaulding will lead the investigation and assemble a team of representatives from the human rights community and human resources to conduct a thorough probe covering several years of alleged misconduct, officials said.

Advocacy group Disability Rights North Carolina informed DHHS officials of the allegations.

“The findings of Disability Rights North Carolina are significant enough to warrant a full investigation into the actions of the school’s top administrator and staff,” Cansler said in a statement. “Our zero-tolerance policy is designed to ensure the protection of our children. Based on our early findings, some staff may not have acted in the best interests of our children. We take these reports seriously and we are acting on them.”


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  • pamslaff Jul 16, 2010

    There are bad apples everywhere. The problem with the state is the process to fire employees can be tricky. It has to be done with facts more than heresay. Unfortunately, the staff shortages 2nd to hiring freezes leaves institution's precious patients vulnerable. The staff at these institutions work more double shifts than I have ever seen. When they do hire, it is agency staff w/ very little experience. It saves the state $ so they dont have to buy benefits for employees. Regular state employees are being replaced by agency staff. That is NEVER a good thing for the patients and general morale. The history of State employees hiring friends over qualifications is another sore spot for state agencies. Until the old cronie attitude is broken the system will continue to be plague by staff less than professional. There are some wonderful people who dedicate their lives to the most needy of people in our great state. Remember you only hear the bad news never the good.

  • Ladybug Jul 16, 2010

    If this is happening I am ashame of NC. Why has it taken years to find this out? Please hurry with the investigation and get leaders in there that care about these people. Those that are guilty will HAVE to be punished.

  • readerman Jul 16, 2010

    Sadly, these things keep happening in our state institutions (remember the recent issues in the mental hospitals). This needs to stop and stiop now!

  • Adelinthe Jul 16, 2010

    I can't imagine how abuse doesn't happen in places where people can't speak out for themselves.

    Who'd know???

    That's why there should never be less than 2 able people in a room with any of them at any one time.

    I don't care how much it costs.

    God bless.


  • mamabearprotectinghercub Jul 16, 2010

    This is sad that people don't respect people that are disabled.

  • bekindinnc Jul 16, 2010

    "Several years of alleged misconduct?" You've got to be kidding me. There are plenty of qualified people who could run the school well and treat the children with respect and caring. Please don't spend years conducting an investigation while the kids suffer. I say clean house and do it soon!

  • u stand corrected Jul 16, 2010


  • bluetarheel21 Jul 16, 2010

    Having a family member that is deaf and considered going to that school, Iam very distured by this story and I pray that they get to the bottom of it quickly ....