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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A kindergarten student suffering from epilepsy recently came home from school with rug burn and swelling on his face. His family is upset, and they want answers.

The parents of Austin Barham, 6, a kindergarten student at Town Creek Elementary are angered by the way the school handled their son.

“He has epilepsy. He takes medicine twice a day. He’s had seizures since he was six months old. He does have a behavior problem. He is on Ritalin, but it doesn’t excuse the way he came home,” Austin’s mom Melissa Jenkins said. “If we had sent him to school like that, we would have been in jail for child abuse.”

Jenkins says that her son Austin came home with rug burn, bruises and swelling all over his face.

“He said that they had his face pressed down on the floor,” she said. “I can show you a picture. The worst side was on the left side of his face. He had a bruise on his cheek bone. He had red splotches all over the left side of his face. You could see them on his forehead, on the left side of his face. Splotches on the left side of his face. I don’t like looking at it”

Jenkins says that despite calling the school and law enforcement, she has been met with no answers as to why her son was treated this way.

Brunswick County Schools sent us a statement saying they cannot comment on this case.

“Brunswick County complies with the Deborah Greenblatt Act,” the statement said. “Staff are trained to implement physical intervention as a last resort when required to prevent students from injuring themselves, other students, or staff.”

Jenkins says that is not an answer.

“I don’t understand why nobody is taking any kind of action of notifying us,” she said. “They’re looking into it. At least call us and say something.”

A Brunswick County Schools spokeswoman told us the district’s executive director for elementary education has reached out to the family by phone.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office referred the family to the school district.

Comment on this Story

  • Camilla

    . Are you guys that ignorant that you actually aren’t aware that there are schools who are specially trained to handle children with issues? There are teachers who are trained to deal with children who have behavioral issues? If the teachers can’t handle it they should get trained again or look for a different job. You guys are stupid there are college programs to deal with special needs children, which means these teachers know what they are getting into and are completely aware of it. So it is all their fault, they are trained, they are aware. The only thing I can think of as “maybe” an excuse is if the boy was being violent towards the teachers or students, and they had to somehow restrain him and had no other options because the violence was just too much. However you can pretty much just pick up a 6 year old and put him in another room and call the parents if its bad. A 6 year old wont overpower you.

  • kenneth

    Thanks to everyone for supporting our child an sticking behind the truth its wrong what happened end of story

  • Mistie

    He wasn’t in a seizure at the time of this and if this was your son I’m pretty sure you would be upset also by telling the parents to chill is like letting the teachers we trust with our children do as they please in any Situation. I don’t care who you are, (teacher, ect) if you touch my child. We have problems.

  • Randy

    What the hell is wrong with you people??? The parenting has NOTHING to do with this story it has everything to do with the messed up school system BRUNSWICK COUNTY has. They should NEVER lay an ill hand on any child. Also why in the hell is the assistant principle involved in any of this? She is not trained to deal with special chidren where were his teachers that r with him everyday and are trained to deal with this behavior??? I CALL BULLSHIT!!!!

  • lizzie

    I feel bad for this family. Someone should be able to tell you what happened to your child while they were under the schools supervision. How can they just send a kid home like that without an explanation or a phone call or something. The child is most likely having a hard enough time in a new school with his complications and should be able to look to the school staff for guidance and care. The parents seem concerned like they should be as good parents and how anyone can attack them I don’t understand. I suggest requesting for them to change schools so this will no longer affect their Childs education.

  • Tracie C

    So I guess if this child in in the throes of a grand mal seizure the teachers are supposed to do NOTHING??? Even a petit mal seizure could cause the person having it to harm themselves. And just HOW, in the middle of a seizure, can this child REMEMBER what was being done to him by ANYONE?
    My brother (who is now almost 50) suffered a SEVERE seizure disorder his entire life and had to be removed from regular school classes as the teachers were NOT equipped to deal with his problems. Hell, I watched him have as many as 50 seizures a DAY (no exaggeration)and I was ill equipped to deal with it.
    Step back parents and take a REALISTIC look at what you’re asking the people in this public school to put up with. Maybe it might be time to suck it up and admit that your child needs just a tad more than the FREE public school system can give him?
    And for the love of dignity….will this kids dad NOT post anymore? You might be a loving father but you sure don’t help your cause to come on here and blabber like an idiot who can’t even spell. Thanks.

  • Guest123

    This is a terrible neurological disorder. If a child is in school with epilepsy then the school staff should already be educated how to deal with this. If the staff is not educated on how to handle neuological disorders then the child should go else where. On the other hand, I had a classmate with epilepsy. He went into a seizure and fell on the floor. The classmates joked about him for years! He was a nice person too. A shame all around.

  • jmm039

    I cant believe the ignorance people are showing toward the treatment of this child and his parents. The staff are suppose to be educated on how to help this child not abuse him. This child is entitled to go to this school and be treated with respect and compassion. To say that he should be “home schooled” or “controlled” by his parents is complete ignorance. Maybe some of you should put yourselves in their shoes…

  • Parent of a child with special needs

    The school failed this child…. PERIOD!

    The staff is trained to identify a child with a disability and inform

    the parents of their options, such as an IEP. There would have been

    protocols and interventions in place that could have prevented this.

    Shame on Town Creek!

    Shame on all the nasty comments referring to the “parenting” style,you

    must not have a clue what it’s like to deal with a child with adhd,

    epilepsy, and self esteem issues from feeling different.

    My heart goes out to these children and it saddens me that the school

    didn’t inform the parents of their options because they were too LAZY

    to deal with it. By law, every child has the right to a public

    education. All children are different and some need accommodations.

    People are so judgmental, let’s hope you never have a child with a

    brain disorder…..let people slam you for your bad “parenting”….

    I hope this family plans on getting a lawyer to figure out why this

    child was failed in the school system. It is the school’s job to

    recognize and inform. I know that this was not an isolated incident

    with this child, Shame on you Town Creek. Parents: pull the school

    records before they start manipulating them to cover their careless


  • kenneth barham

    How would anyone like it if I held your child down how would someone feel your child come home an show you how they had a 6 year old that’s sick held like some criminal all over a outburst yea that’s the way to go as the father of austin Lee barham this is far from over they will suffer like he did with his face scratched up for 2 weeks an burned I’m so mad at the parents on her that agree thar this was right you make a lot of us parents sick then it makes u think is it the teachers causing these children to do what they do nowadays?

  • Guest CommonTater

    I do sympathize with your situation and no child should be subjected to such harsh physical intervention but why do we hold our school systems responsible for managing such cases? It should be the parents responsibility to seek out another level of care that can provide for a child in extreme cases. The public has GOT to quit thinking the school system is a catch-all for everything. If your child is “outside the box” then see to providing more for YOUR child. You want it done right… right? Quit whining and see to it.

  • melissa Jenkins

    Thank you i can’t believe some of these people were just looking for answer’s and something will be done……

  • melanie

    these comments berating the parents make me feel sick. who care if their child takes ridelin for ADD, he suffers from EPILEPSY. Its a disease, and if seizures are not treated the right way then they can cause harm. There is no reason that child should have come home with those kind of markings. I am 25 and have had epilepsy for 7 years, ive never looked like that after a seizure. As a MOTHER the school could at least give a detailed account of what happened, who was around, and what they did afterwards She deserves to know what happened so she and the school can move forward working together for this child. Shame on you negative commentators!

  • melissa jenkins

    Really??? Look here we both have full time jobs trying to make it in this world today. All I’m trying to say is he was handled unfairly in this situation.

  • Bradley

    If I didn’t have a full-time job working as a single parent to provide for my child, I would visit my child’s class more often. Don’t assume this parent isn’t doing everything she can. If you don’t have to raise a special needs child, YOU DON’T HAVE A CLUE what it’s like. “Dump her kid off” really makes my blood boil. How did you get that from the interview? After taking a ten second break, I have to remind myself that there are people out there who will NEVER understand the stress on parents raising children with behavior issues. If people don’t take the time to educate themselves, incorrect assumptions will continue to exist.

  • Brian

    Perhaps one of the parents needs to take a more active role in their child’s education. Apparently one parent feels that the school system is not serving her child in an appropriate manner. She may be right; they don’t really have the resources to do so. So perhaps this parent can spend a few days a week in school with her child, providing care and guidance, and keeping her child’s needs from taking resources away from the other kids that need them as well. Plus, she’d be able to observe the way that staff treats her child.

    It sure sounds to me like she’s expecting to be able to just dump her kid off on the school system during the day, but leave them with no options for controlling his behavior. That’s not fair to the staff, nor the other students.

  • mistie walker

    Well i know for a fact that BOTH of his parents work hard with austin and spend as much time as possible with him. There is no reason to post something this harsh for them to think they are bad parents, or to make them think their son is the “problem” child. Yes he has some medical issues but it does not mean they dont take care of their child… I think their child was done wrong, and they derserve to have something done about it!

  • Bradley

    I don’t even have the words to reply to this one. I will only say thank you for reminding me uneducated people (regarding special needs) exist. I can’t be naive to the true nature of people full of hate.

  • Guest1234guest

    Maybe stop sending your problem child to school to disrupt the students who aren’t problem children. Teachers have enough to do w/o this. Home school?… or cant you handle him either?

  • kenneth barham

    Yea can’t handle my child I’m the father of thartlittle boy sorry my son ain’t perfect who’s child is sorry he’s not black or Mexican but they will pay for such rather u or anyone liked it…now you have a good day an next time post something that’s real instead of that silver spoon in your mouth talk thanks

  • Sweetpea

    He is not a problem child. Every kid learns right from wrong but at no time should kid be retrained from being who he wants to be at 6 years old. It’s not right nor is it fare to the child. No one is to blame her but the teachers he was left with that day!

  • Bradley

    You should be ashamed for the comments you’ve made. I can only imagine (in the form of a nightmare) what you are teaching your child. God did not make everyone perfect. Even a child with behavior problems needs to be treated fairly. “Civilized human being”? There are medical diagnosis for some behavior problems so don’t assume.

  • windy

    As a parent you should be ashamed! The school is not responsible for your son’s “behavior problems” nor should anyone have to deal with such nonsense in an academic environment. Taking your “story” to the news media to draw attention to yourself is appalling. The only person at fault in this situation is yourself for failing to teach your child how to behave like a civilized human being. How about taking a little responsibility for your job as a parent.

  • kenneth barham

    No as a parent I’m not ashamed I’m ashamed of people like you an your top of the line kids maybe you need a new outlook on life but that’s okay all ends well in my situation don’t come crying when it happens to you child always remember I’m the father of thar little boy an I do not appreciate your comment maybe go focus on your worthless life thanks a bunch loser

  • melissa jenkins MOM

    Look here I’m not blaming anyone but he’s 6 he did not deserve to get handled like that. Do you have children? Just think if your child came home with their face marked up and can describe to you the way they held him down and drew pictures of it it wad sad. That’s my baby not someone for the school to man handle


    Get educated! If I couldn’t speak any better, I would just keep my mouth closed. It is hard for people to consider your plea when you open your mouth and speak in an uneducated manner.

  • kenneth barham

    Reguardless of any situation you don’t hurt another persons child its child abuse my son looked horrible. When he came home an that’s suppose to be okay I don’t think so

  • David Jordan

    A child of this age who is disruptive and in need of physical intervention can be held easily and safely in a cradle hold, which would prevent rug burns and other scrapes. I don’t know what Brunswick County’s intervention training is, but as a retired special education teacher with over 40 years experience working with children who have behavior disorders, I think that their methods need serious examination by an independent monitor.

  • Sober1

    Please pray for Austin and all children with special needs and typical children.

  • jmm039

    So sorry this happened to this child. Unfortunatley this school does have a problem with the staff being the bullies. My child was not physically hurt, thank God, but I did pull my child from this school because of some staff and students. I certainly hope the people that hurt this child are brought to justice and suffer the same pain that he and his family have.

  • GuestWoW

    “Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open
    your mouth and remove all doubt”


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