A lawsuit has been filed against the Roseville City School District, administrators and a teacher by parents of autistic children who say their kids were struck by the teacher.
The alleged incidents occurred in 2013 when Theresa Vanwagner was seen by teacher's aides and a substitute teacher slapping student’'s hands, faces and mouths at least 20 times over a period of time.
Vanwagner was eventually fired, but Duane and Kimberly Beecham, who had a daughter in the class, said they were never told why.
They and other parents got a letter from the District Attorney's Office that Vanwagner was being charged with three counts of misdemeanor child abuse.
The parents said they didn't know their child was involved until their attorneys got access to a police report.
“It's not right and it's just a lot of pain,"Duane Beecham said.
Beecham said he and his wife feel guilty for not protecting their daughter.
"So all this time I'm taking, I'm forcing, my own kid (to go to school and ) to get abused,” Duane Beecham said.
The report also said Vanwagner was heard using racial comments to put down her students.
“I cried when I saw the report … I had to go see a counselor,” said Oliver Vergara, whose then 3-year-old son was an alleged victim.
Parents said school administrators should have done something sooner when reports of abuse were reported.
And they said police investigators advised administrators to let parents know about the abuse allegations. Instead parents were kept in the dark, even though Vanwagner was fired.
"All this could have been avoided if they had followed the law and reported it," said the attorney for the parents, Peter Alfert.
The amount of damages is not specified by the civil suit.
Parents say a key reason for the suit is to warn parents that the same thing could happen to their children unless they are diligent about how and who schools their children.
Vanwagner could not be reached for comment.
During the investigation she apparently did not cooperate with a detective, declining to give an account of what occurred even though she was not charged initially with any crime.
The district Superintendent Derk Garcia confirmed that Vanwagner was fired in 2013.
But he said he could not comment on a civil lawsuit ht had yet to see and would not talk about Vanwagner because the criminal case is on-going.