Special education aide says student tried to strangle her

SEATTLE -- A special education aide said she ended up at the hospital after one of her own students at Ballard High School attacked her.

All Ballard High students are subject to suspensions and expulsions, but extra factors get taken into account when school officials reprimand teenagers they already know have behavioral, emotional or learning issues.

According to a police report, an instructional aid with the special education program said a student chased her down the hall and tried to strangle her.

The aide also told police she thought the student was trying to break her neck. Another student eventually jumped in and stopped the attack.

"If I was the teacher's aide, if that was me or I was attacked, I don't think it would matter if he was a regular student or he had special needs. I definitely would want more presence of safety," said parent Jennifer Pugh.

School district officials say they have an obligation to educate all students, while at the same time maintaining a safe learning environment.

"Our priority is for safety. We don't want have staff in a situation where they don't feel prepared to support students," said Stacy McCrath-Smith with the Seattle School District.

The aide said the same student who allegedly attacked her has acted violently in the past, and she worries about the safety of other students around him.

That's a worry some parents share.

"He could have attacked my daughter," Pugh said.

The teacher was taken to the hospital to be checked out, but she has since returned to work. The student has been suspended while the case is reviewed.