Boy traumatized after roaches used as discipline
By Jeff Ehling
ABC 13 Eyewitness News, April 15, 2002

Three years after they were used to discipline him, a young boy is still traumatized by cockroaches.

(4/15/02) Roaches are a pest to most people, but one teacher at the Coolwood Head Start program used them to discipline children. And now one family is still dealing with the traumatic affects the bugs had on their son. The roaches were used in an attempt to get a five-year-old to take a nap. The event happened three years ago, but that child is still terrified by bugs and his parents want the help that was promised them.

"There was a cup of flying cockroaches that they would put on my son," explained Shannon Henderson, the boy's mother.

The incident happened in 1999. According to the Harris county Department of Education, one teacher was fired and two others disciplined. The department admitted mistakes were made and set up a psychological evaluation. The report, dated January 2000, found the family may need to participate in periodic counseling. But the Hendersons say their son seemed ok until he enrolled at elementary school.

"He doesn't even want to go outside and play. 'There's bugs flying around,'" Shannon Henderson said. "Even when there's not bugs, he feels that there are. He's ducking and dodging and he doesn't want to go to the bathroom because he feels there's bugs in the bathroom."

So now the Hendersons are ready to take the county up on its offer, but the family says that's when the help ran out.

"After we got the report, we never heard from them, never heard from them," laments Shannon Henderson. "I left several messages for Jane Whitaker, she never returned my calls."

So we called the Harris county Department of Education, and spoke to Jimmy Wynn.

"We didn't know this came up again," said Jimmy Wynn. "We dealt with it at the time. The child was involved in counseling when the child left. There was not a request when he left for this to continue."

Wynn says he can't find anyone at the department who spoke with the Hendersons recently, but says that will not stop the agency from helping the child overcome his fear of roaches and bugs.

"We want to do whatever we can to help that family," Wynn assured Eyewitness News. "We've given you information on how that family can contact us and we will, if they give us a call, we will make sure they have the help that they need."

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