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Teachers, aides accused of abusing autistic children with whistles, locked dark bathroom

Posted at 2:25 PM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 15:27:17-05

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a teacher and two teacher’s aides who are accused of abusing three children with autism with whistles or threats of whistles at their school in Florida.

Authorities arrested 48-year-old Margaret Wolthers, a teacher at Silver Sands School in Fort Walton Beach, and teacher’s aides Diana LaCroix and Carolyn Madison for aggravated child abuse.

Deputies tell Newsweek Magazine that two of the students were 8 and the other was 10. These allegations came to light after they were reported by witnesses to a school resource officer.

Investigators say the suspects intentionally blew a whistle in the ear of a child with a low sensory auditory threshold who wore earphones to protect himself from loud noises.

The sheriff said the suspects were allegedly threatened one of the victims with a whistle. All three victims were placed individually in a classroom bathroom with the doors closed and lights off as a punishment.

The station reports that classroom aides who witnessed the action said the victims screamed and cried. Officials say one of the victims was in a bathroom for 90 minutes after the incident.