Sunday, March 22, 2015

Adventist Boarding School accused of using handcuffs to restrain students

Adventist Boarding School accused if using handcuffs to restrain students

Metro News | March 18, 2015

CLARKSBURG, West Virginia - Timothy Aaron Arrington, 36, of Salem, appeared in court Wednesday for a hearing before Harrison Count Magistrate Warren Davis. Arrington is accused of handcuffing a student to a tree for hours without providing food, placing handcuffs on a student while placing them in an isolation or “quarantine” room as punishment for fighting with another student, handcuffing another student in quarantine without clothes for allegedly not changing his story to fit Arrington’s narrative to remove legal involvement in an investigation of sexual misconduct between students and handcuffing a student in quarantine overnight. He is also accused of choking students in two of the four incidents.

According to initial investigations, Arrington admitted to handcuffing children in order to restrain them, but only for the alleged length of time, and did not admit to otherwise physically abusing the students. Witness testimony provided Wednesday indicated there was no official policy for using handcuffs, only an unofficial one that was in the process of being approved by the Board of Directors for the Christian boarding school in Salem.

Had the policy been official, Arrington would have violated it by not getting administrative permission immediately, not contacting the parents within an hour of using the handcuff, allegedly keeping the students handcuffed for a long period of time and by not keeping a running log of when the handcuffs were used.

There was no school policy, according to testimony, regarding stripping down students as part of the punishment. This reportedly was a personal decision made by Arrington, as indicated by an incident report he filled out, in order to calm the students down by “making life less crazy.”

Miracle Meadows School was a Christian boarding school affiliated as a Seventh-day Adventist supporting ministry. The students enrolled were children 6 to 18 years of age, who “are experiencing defiance, dishonesty, school failure, trouble with the law, spiritual disinterest, poor social skills, adoption issues and other behavior that is harmful to them and to others,” according to the school’s website.

Arrington was arrested on August 14 and charged with one count of child abuse by a custodian of a child. On August 22, the founder of the school, Susan Gayle Clark was arrested and arraigned on two counts of failure to report, one count of obstruction of a law enforcement officer and two felony counts of child neglect resulting in injury. Arrington was subsequently arraigned on three felony counts of child abuse creating risk of bodily injury.

The state Department of Education revoked the school’s “exemption (k)” status and the students were remanded to the custody of the DHHR to be turned over to their parents.

Magistrate Davis ruled there was probable cause to proceed with the case and it will be taken up by the next term of the Harrison County grand jury.

Another case taken up by the same grand jury will Clark’s, in which probable cause was found back in July.