Florida educator caught on video abusing nonverbal autistic student, officials say


A Florida high school paraprofessional was arrested Thursday after she was caught on camera physically abusing an autistic student, authorities said.

Shaquanya Ann Randolph, 28, was charged with one count of aggravated child abuse on a student, according to the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said the incident occurred around 10:45 a.m. while Randolph was on a walk with a nonverbal autistic student on the campus of Sebring High School.

“An assistant principal making rounds on campus overheard an interaction between a student and staff member that did not seem appropriate,” the Highlands County school board said, according to authorities. “The assistant principal responded immediately, and brought the incident to the school principal and administrative team.”

The sheriff’s Special Victims Unit started an investigation that later led to Randolph’s arrest.

According to the sheriff’s office, she was assigned to work with the student in January 2020. Randolph’s status with the school district was unknown.

Efforts to reach her by phone Friday were unsuccessful.

No other details, including the condition of the student, were immediately available.

Sebring is a city about 85 miles southeast of Tampa.