Jeneil Milan is a mom on a mission, fighting for her son, who can't see. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
HOLLY SPRINGS, MS -
(WMC) - A Holly Springs, Miss. mother is fighting for her voice to be heard after she said a teacher's aide pushed and kicked her son, who has special needs. The teacher's aide denies doing anything wrong.
For more than one year, the two sides have been at a standstill—until now.
Jeneil Milan is a mom on a mission, fighting for her son, who can't see.
"My son is a minor. She's a grown woman," said Milan. "She pushing a blind child through some tables and chairs. He cannot see this."
Her 15-year-old son, Marquelan, is blind. He says a former teacher's aide, Webster Collins, physically abused him at Holly Springs Junior High School last year.
"Mrs. Collins has been shoving me, and pushing me, and kicking me, and pushing me through some doors and chairs and desk, and that make me feel real bad," he said.
Milan says she first learned of the incident a full week after her son said it happened. When she asked the school about it, a school official told her there was indeed an altercation.
Milan filed charges for simple assault and pulled her son out of the school, only to watch the case collect dust for more than one year at the courthouse.
It turns out that Collins was being protected by a Mississippi law that allows teachers to have a probable cause hearing before they are arrested.
Four witnesses were called for that hearing, but Collins told a judge she did not have an attorney. The hearing was delayed and the case was never put back on the docket.
After digging through court records and following a decision from the attorney general, WMC Action News 5's Michael Clark found that Collins should have never had a probable cause hearing in the first place because she is not a certified teacher, according to Holly Springs' superintendent.
When that information was presented to Prosecutor Shirley Byers, she asked a judge to immediately remand the case to justice court so Milan and her son can finally make their case.
"With the help of the Lord I've been trying and I've been making it through with him, just hoping and praying that somebody would give me that chance, and when you did give me that chance, I was so happy," said Milan. "Because I needed that help. I needed just that little bitty boost."
Webster Collins has no previous criminal record. She denied the allegations against her over the phone and in person when Clark went by her house.
Michael Clark: Do you know why he might say something like that?
Webster Collins: He didn't say it. His mom said it.
Clark: You said the charges aren't true.
Collins: They're not true.
Clark: So what happened that day?
Collins: I can't discuss it because I have to talk to my lawyer.
Marquelan is now being home schooled, too scared to return to a real classroom. It is a burden his mother is willing to shoulder as she waits for the justice system to do its part.
"You stand up. Don't let people push your child around, because that's what makes them stronger when somebody there for them," said Milan. "Because when somebody stand up for them, they'll stand up for somebody else."
The case is now in justice court, and the prosecutor hopes to have a hearing in the next few weeks.
The Holly Springs superintendent says Collins quit when she was questioned about the allegations and is no longer part of the school district.
Collins hired an attorney in Greenville, Miss., who said, "Ms. Collins, as is any person who has been accused of a crime, is innocent until proven guilty in a courtroom of law. It is unfortunate that a person's good name and good character that has been established all of her life can be drug through the mud in the media, based on allegations alone. We are awaiting our day in court."
"If you love your child and you know something is right, you stick with what's right no matter what. No matter what everyone else tells you, you stick with what you know is right. And if it's right, you fight for it. That's what we do. We fight for what's right," Milan said.
Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
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