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ONLY ON 3: Parents say school staff roughed up epileptic son

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.

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