‘She took his belief’: Former Youngstown trainer pleads responsible to assault of particular wants little one

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Geraldine DeWitt is accused of beating J’yonn Amos Perry at McGuffey Elementary School in 2019

by: Keely Lovers

Posted: Jan 21, 2021 / 4:50 PM EST
Updated: Jan 21, 2021 / 5:40 PM EST

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After more than two years in court, a Youngstown city teacher went before a judge Thursday accused of assaulting a student with special needs. Before finding out her fate, the child’s mother spoke emotionally to the courtroom.

Jasmine Hyde spoke directly to Geraldine DeWitt, who is accused of assaulting her special needs son, J’yonn Amos Perry.

“Geraldine DeWitt, you are not a mother. You will never understand a mother’s love or pain, ”said Hyde.

The 62-year-old is accused of beating the 9-year-old at McGuffey Elementary School in 2019. She was charged with assault, a first degree offense.

“One of the worst feelings in the world is when your child tells you someone hit them and you refuse to believe that someone you trusted is really harming them,” said Hyde.

Two years later, when DeWitt stood before Judge Renee DiSalvo, he accepted a consent form.

Judge DiSalvo: “How do you plead?”
DeWitt: “Guilty.”

She pleaded guilty to negligent bodily harm, a third degree offense. She could face fines of up to $ 750 and prison terms of up to 90 days.

“My son is a child prodigy, your honor. He struggled with many health problems when he was born and has special needs. He has special needs, special attention, and I entrusted that to you, ”said Hyde.

Perry is now 11 years old and his mother says he is still affected by what happened.

“It’s hard to trust. She took that from him. She took his trust, ”said Hyde.

According to the Youngstown City School District, “Ms. DeWitt is no longer employed with YCSD. It is against YCSD policy and is never appropriate to use violence on a child. “

Judge DiSalvo: “I understand that you have voluntarily given up your license, your teaching license, and will no longer teach.”
DeWitt: Yes, your honor.

Hyde asks DeWitt for the maximum sentence and a letter of apology, but Judge DiSalvo says there are too many factors to decide an immediate sentence.

“You weren’t just a teacher, you were a teacher with special needs – that’s a bigger responsibility,” said Judge DiSalvo.

DeWitt will now be sentenced on Tuesday, January 26th at 9 a.m., and the boy’s mother has this news for her.

“You have to live the rest of your life knowing that J’yonn Perry, J’yonn Perry, my baby, is the reason you’re no longer a teacher … He didn’t deserve this treatment, no kid,” said Hyde.