Parents of Ohio special needs teen taped to chair by school staff say they are 'shocked and hurt' on 'Fox & Friends'

Parents of Ohio special needs teen taped to chair by school staff say they are 'shocked and hurt' on 'Fox & Friends'
Mark and Angela Hodge recalled the ridiculing experience their son Dustin (center) faced in school on 'Fox & Friends' (Screengrab/Fox News)

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Mark and Angela Hodge joined host Ainsley Earhardt to discuss the terrible ordeal that their son Dustin, 15, had to face at the West Clermont High School in Ohio on Friday, April 5, 2024, episode of 'Fox & Friends'.

The teenager, who is non-verbal and suffers from Down syndrome and autism, was allegedly taped to a chair by a former teacher Allison Vestring and former aide Rachel Smith on March 1. They are facing misdemeanor charges over the incident, which the police say one of them recorded on their phone. Both have pleaded not guilty in separate court appearances.

Ohio parents react to son being taped to chair

"I found out about it when the principal called and let us know about the incident," Angela told Earhardt.

"And we were really shocked and really disappointed in everything. I mean, just to hear that really hurt us," she added.

"If you're just a normal person looking at the video, and you see a kid getting – it was all fun and games, but to us it wasn't fun and games. So that's the point we're trying to make. It should have never happened," shared Mark.

Ainsley Earhardt with Mark, Dustin and Angela Hodge on 'Fox & Friends (Screengrab/Fox News)
Ainsley Earhardt with Mark, Dustin, and Angela Hodge on the April 5, 2024, episode of 'Fox & Friends (Screengrab/Fox News)

He went over the incident, saying, "When (Dustin) was in school, a child had brought in some tape that was in his book bag. And the two teachers thought it would be funny to tape Dustin to the chair, and they were kind of getting kicks out of it. And then they told him to stand up while it was taped."

"When the video comes out, some people are going to look at this and think, oh, it was just an innocent thing where they tape the kid to the chair. But what they don't know about Dustin is Dustin's constantly moving his hands, and he kind of freaks out when he gets restrained. So to Dustin, that was a big deal," Mark continued.

"To some people seeing it, it won't be a big deal, but to us, it was a big deal, and definitely to him," he added.

Parents do not blame school for incident

The Hodges did not hold the entire school responsible for the traumatic ordeal that their son went through, with Mark clarifying that they were "not trying to bash West Clermont" by speaking out.

"All through school... we've had great teachers. Teachers that really liked him, teachers that have loved him. And he loves going to school with the teachers," he said.

"What we're trying to get out of this is definitely for our special needs classes, especially the ones around in our district, to get cameras in the special needs classes. And that way, if there is an incident and we want to look back on the videos, we can actually see the videos. And that's what this whole thing is for," the father continued. 

"We just want clarity on something if he comes home with a scratch or a bruise. It could have happened out on the playground or whatever, but we want to know. And that's what a lot of people with the Down syndrome kids or special needs kids, that's what they want to know," Mark added.


Share this article:  Parents of Ohio special needs teen taped to chair by school staff say they are 'shocked and hurt' on 'Fox & Friends'