South Carolina Police: Autistic kindergartner locked in supply closet by teacher

Donna Hughes

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A former Greenville County teacher has been arrested after police say she used cruel punishment techniques in her classroom.

Donna Morgan Hughes, a former special education teacher at Woodland Elementary in Greer, was arrested in December by Greer Police for Unlawful Neglect of a Child and Assault and Battery.

Police say that Hughes locked an autistic 5-year-old in a supply closet, with no lights, for 30 minutes as a punishment. Those warrants also say that Hughes dragged that child across the room out of a chair, injuring him.

Hughes became under suspension for these allegations in March of 2014, she resigned on April 7th of 2014 from her position. Her teaching license has been suspended by the South Carolina Department of Education because of these allegations.

In that suspension letter, the Department of Education says the Greenville County School District reprimanded Hughes in 2012 and 2013 for her unusual discipline practices.

The parents of that 5-year-old filed a report in 2014, but for unknown reasons, it was 2 years before Hughes was charged.

The parents of that child are now suing the Greenville County School District, stating that the previous reprimands should have been red flags of Hughes behavior.

Greenville County Schools say they cannot comment on the pending lawsuit.

Several calls and an email to Hughes’ attorney have gone unanswered so far.

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