Three Okaloosa County School employees facing child abuse, child neglect charges

Northwest Florida

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Three Okaloosa County School District employees, accused of abusing three children with autism at a school in Florida, are facing child abuse and child neglect charges, according to the state attorney’s office. 

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrested 48-year-old Margaret Wolthers, a teacher at Silver Sands School, and teacher’s aides Diana LaCroix and Carolyn Madison for aggravated child abuse back in January. 

Each person will be charged with one count of child abuse and one count of child neglect. 

The Sheriff says two of the students were age 8 and one was 10. The allegations came to light after being 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 says all three victims were placed individually in a classroom bathroom with the door closed and lights off as punishment.

Classroom aides who witnessed this say the victims would scream and cry. Officials say one of the victims was in the bathroom for 90 minutes.

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