EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMother Of Student Speaks Out After Principal Acquitted Of Child Abuse
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Aug. 1, 2013 9:56 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 1, 2013 10:57 PM EDT
Mason County , West Virginia
A week after a former Mason County principal was acquitted of felony child abuse, the mother of the child involved in the incident is speaking out.
Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with student Zach Plants' mom, who said she has been silent too long.
Melanie Plants will never forget how her son looked when she picked him up from school one day in March 2012.
"He had a Band-aid over his face, and it was swollen and red," she said.
Her son, 11, told her Principal Cameron Moffett had dragged him off a school bus, and he didn't know why. The incident, was caught on tape.
"When I saw the video, it was so hard,” she said. “It was really hard to watch."
Moffett and teachers have said Zach has a history of violence, and that he was only protecting himself when Zach refused to listen. His mom disagreed.
"He's never hurt anybody," she said.
Zach has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, and sometimes goes into shutdown mode in loud situations. She said she believes that's what happened that day on the bus.
Plants testifed at Moffett's bench trial last week, and she said still can't believe he was acquitted.
"I will be honest,” she said. “I was very surprised, disappointed, because now he's free to be around kids and, I'm sorry, I just don't think he should be."
She said her trust in the system has been broken. Zach attended a different school this year, with no incidents, but his mom couldn't bear leaving him alone.
"I sat in the parking lot the whole time," she said.
Despite what Plants said her family has been through in the past year, she said her son is bouncing back.
"He's doing so good,” she said. “I'm so proud of him. He's come a long ways."
Moffett is still employed in Mason County schools.
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