Mother of child allegedly abused by teacher: 'I worry every day when I send him to school'
LAS VEGAS (KSNV NEWS3LV) —
The mother of the local student Clark County School District student police say was abused at the hands of his special education teacher is speaking out.
"I have fought for three months to get here where we are at today," said Crystal Nomura-Harper, who is asking to keep her son's identity private.
The child's mother spoke out following the initial hearing for her son's former Deskin Elementary School teacher, Kathryn Navrides.
Nomura-Harper says the last time her little boy saw Navrides he was left with multiple bruises on his arms and chest. She says he told her they came from his teacher, who he calls "Miss Katie."
Navrides, a special-education teacher, was hired at the school in 2009.
Nomura-Harper says at the time of the alleged abuse, her son was in the classroom with two other students, Navrides and a teacher's aid. She adds that her son has autism.
"I trusted the teacher. I trusted Clark County. I trusted the autism department. I trusted the entire system and in a way it has been betrayed," says Nomura-Harper. "I worry every day when I send him to school."
At the initial hearing for the case Tuesday, Navrides waived her appearance and was not in court. Her attorney Elizabeth Anderlik stood before the judge on her client's behalf. Navrides is pleading not guilty in the case.
"I've known Katie for a really long time and this isn't something I would expect from her," says Anderlik. "I think it's important to keep your minds open wait until you have all the facts before you make a decision on whether or not you think she's guilty."
An investigation into the actions of the special education teacher began this past spring after a teacher's aide in Navrides' classroom said she saw the teacher grab and shake the four-year-old student inside the classroom.
The aide also noticed bruises and red marks on the child's arms after the incident. Child Protective Services is working with CCSD Police and the Clark County District Attorney's Office in the case.
"You work with kids. These parents trust you," says Alicia Soto, who is also a former teacher of the victim. She was brought to tears following Tuesday's hearing.
"If you're telling me that this boy didn't know right-from-wrong, you're wrong," says Soto. "After you get respect from (students), and loyalty, and they trust you, you're their everything while their parents are gone."
Nomura-Harper says she plans to show up at hearings throughout Navrides' case. fighting for justice not only for her son, but other CCSD students.
"I am very fortunate that my son is able to verbalize, but what happens to the non-verbal children? What happens to the children who don't have a voice?" she asks.
Namura-Harper says she has since pulled her son out of Deskin Elementary.
Navrides is expected in court where she will face a judge for her preliminary hearing on September 6.