Local News

State investigates abuse allegations at school for deaf

Posted July 16, 2010 3:58 p.m. EDT

— 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.”