Nebraska City teacher bullied, abused special needs student, court documents allege
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A Nebraska City teacher has been accused of bullying and abusing a student with special needs, court documents allege.
Melissa Valenta, 50, a life skills teacher at Nebraska City High School, is being charged with felony child abuse.
The student suffers from several medical and mental conditions, including autism and fatty liver disease, court documents allege.
He also has a heart condition and is supposed to be excluded from places of “high stress or in stations of strenuous physical activity.”
Valenta and the student have worked together since the sixth grade, according to court documents.
The mother of the student reported the abuse on Oct. 4.
Investigators detailed several incidents in court documents filed last week, including one occasion when Valenta bullied the student during a personal education class.
In security footage acquired by the Nebraska City Police Department, Valenta can be heard telling the student to walk laps, since he wasn’t participating in a game.
Court documents allege that Valenta told the student that she would take a video of him to send to his mom and that she might “have to take his puppy back.”
In another incident, Valenta is accused of throwing dodgeballs at the student, who is heard in the video saying “ow” several times.
Valenta is also heard saying the student was “an easy target,” according to court documents.
On another day, Valenta asked the student to mop the bathroom for over 30 minutes, court documents allege.
The documents also list several other incidents that were caught on video and audio, including Valenta and paraeducators joking about the student’s clothing.
Based on the officer’s investigation, she alleges that Valenta “intentionally” caused the student to be placed in a situation “that endangered his physical and mental health.”
Valenta’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 1 in Otoe County.
Two paraeducators from the school have also been charged with misdemeanor negligent child abuse, according to court documents.