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Mother of TPS student allegedly thrown by special education teacher speaks out

Special education teacher Garrett Pelz, 29, has been charged with assault after he allegedly threw a student to the ground at school Tuesday afternoon.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A Toledo elementary school teacher has been accused of throwing a student on the ground following an incident at Spring Elementary School Tuesday afternoon.

Charged with assault, 29-year-old Garrett Pelz, faced a judge Wednesday.

Pelz pleaded not guilty and is currently out on bond, but is scheduled to talk to a judge on June 27.

According to Toledo Public Schools, Pelz is suspended without pay as the district continues to investigate, but the boy's mother said reflecting on the incident and the loss of trust in the school it's created for her son, she feels that punishment isn't enough.

"There was an incident, and I was like 'okay, he's in ED classes so sometimes the kids misbehave,'" the student's mother Marcela Graciana, said. "But it wasn't with a student, it was with an adult. The only adult he deals with is his teacher."

Graciani arrived at Spring Elementary School Tuesday afternoon to find her son, 8-year-old Jaxson, in shocking condition.

"A little gash above his right eye, and rug burn and his lips. His tooth went through his lip a little bit," Graciana said.

Graciani said Jaxson struggles with ADHD and behavioral issues and is in a specialized ED class at school.

According to Jaxson's written account and the accounts of the other students, it was his teacher, Garrett Pelz who was responsible. Jaxson claimed he had been bickering with another student and started kicking his desk in frustration.

Pelz took the desk away, but the student kept pestering Jaxson, so he got out of his seat to kick the desk again. Pelz asked him to return to his seat but Jaxson sat on the desk instead.

"And that's when he said the teacher came up, grabbed him by the shoulders and just threw him," Graciana said. "The teacher told him, 'get up, you're fine, you're okay,' even after he spit blood out of his mouth."

Court documents show Jaxson then went to the office while Pelz had other students clean up Jaxson's blood off the ground.

Graciani said as soon as she learned what happened, she insisted she wouldn't leave until Pelz was arrested. She said she knows her son can be a handful, but as a special education teacher, Pelz should have been more prepared.

"You didn't go into regular education, you went into special education. For kids that have these issues," Graciana said. "You know the precautions, we get IEPs and everything set in place so if this happens and you can't get them to calm down, there are different steps to make so no kids are getting hurt."

Graciani said since this incident was first reported Wednesday, other parents have reached out to her claiming they've also experienced behavioral issues with Pelz in the past.



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