Ed. Note: On Jan. 9, Abrams pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge during an appearance in Greenup District Court. Her attorney, Matthew Wisecup, said she will fight the charges.
“She maintains her innocence, and of course, she is entitled to a presumption of innocence by law. We intend to defend this charge fully,” Wisecup told PEOPLE.
Abrams, whose pretrial conference is scheduled for Feb. 20, remains free with the condition she does not teach or work in a school.
Here is PEOPLE’s initial story on the arrest of the first suspect, originally published Jan. 8.
WARNING: This article contains a video with disturbing content.
A Kentucky teacher has been fired and charged with assault after being seen on video dragging a 9-year-old boy, whose mother says has autism, down a hall by his wrists, PEOPLE confirms.
Trina Abrams was charged with Assault 4th Degree, victim under 12 years old, according to Senior Trooper David Boarman, who added that Kentucky State Police opened an investigation into Abrams following the incident in October 2018 at Wurtland Elementary School in Wurtland, Kentucky.
In surveillance footage, shared by the boy’s mother on Facebook Sunday, a woman is seen dragging the child on his back and knees through the school’s hallways.
Along with the posting the video, the mother also explained her son was diagnosed with “autism, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety and depression. In addition, his speech is also limited,” adding that her son was “experiencing a meltdown (which he sometimes experiences as part of his diagnoses).”
The mom alleged, “Abrams forcefully grabbed my son by the wrist and bent it backward.”
The injuries that resulted from the incident include a “possible left wrist fracture” and a “confirmed sprain in one of his wrists,” according to the mother. “I immediately took him to the nearest ER. X-rays where [sic] done on his wrist and tailbone,” she wrote on Facebook. “In the days following, he suffered swelling and bruising around his wrist. Now with regression in fine motor skills such as handwriting, buttoning pants, tying shoes, etc. He will have to do more intense occupational therapy to regain his skills that took so long to grasp.”
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More than two months after the incident, the Greenup County School District confirmed on Monday that a teacher had been terminated. The statement, obtained by local news outlet WSAZ, did not name Abrams as the teacher.
“The teacher was removed from the school and a formal investigation was conducted. The superintendent also followed protocol and reported the incident to the Kentucky Education Standards Board,” said Superintendent Sherry Horsley, who also confirmed that Child Protective Services and the Kentucky Education Standards Board were made aware of the teacher’s actions.
“All GCSD staff are trained to prevent incidents of restraint,” the statement added. “Each school has a specially trained team to address immediate issues. In addition, each school has teachers specially trained to address autism-related behaviors.”
The mother’s Facebook video has garnered over 100,000 views.
PEOPLE was unable to reach Abrams for comment, but the mother indicated that the teacher had defended her actions as necessary.
“Abrams considers herself to be completely innocent. She claimed she was preventing him from harming himself but it doesn’t line up with his actions from the video. My son deserves justice,” she wrote.
Nelson concluded, “Also all schools should have more training for teachers to handle children with disabilities and to learn proper protocol to retrain and redirect if needed. There should also be more laws in place for any child, like my son who are abused by the adults we entrust to care for them. The fact that my son is not able to fully verbalize what he went through means that we must fight that much harder for all kids, but especially the kids who cannot speak for themselves.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, Nelson revealed she has received an overwhelming outpouring of support.
“We are just so thankful for all the support and compassion we have been receiving. It’s been truly amazing. So many people have come forward with their own stories, and it has really got conversations starting,” she said. “People are learning more about autism and other disabilities. People are wanting change and to spread awareness. I am so grateful for everyone who is helping spread the word and my son’s story.”