Editor’s note: This story has been updated to fix the name of Ocean Bay Elementary School.
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A parent of a Horry County Schools student filed a lawsuit Thursday against the district after a teacher and a principal were arrested in November.
The parent, only identified in the lawsuit as John Doe, alleges that Grace McColgan — a Special Ed teacher at Ocean Bay Elementary School — was caught on video punching his daughter, who is non-verbal, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also claims Rebecca Schroyer — the principal at Ocean Bay Elementary School — knew about the abuse and failed to report it as required by law.
McColgan and Schroyer were both arrested.
The parent said the district “knew or should have known about prior incidents involving Grace McColgan and they should have known that she was unfit to [supervise] special needs students,” according to the lawsuit.
John Doe accuses Horry County Schools of gross negligence, and negligent hiring, supervision and retention, according to the lawsuit.
Horry County Schools said it does not comment on pending litigation.
McColgan was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 15, 2022, because of “allegations of unprofessional conduct,” according to the documents. After the investigation, McGolgan was allowed to return to work on March 30, 2022.
“Although you are allowed to return to work, it is imperative that you understand that future conduct of this nature will not be tolerated and could place your employment in jeopardy,” a letter dated March 31 reads.
McColgan’s education certificate was suspended on Nov. 2, 2022, “until a due process hearing is held and/or this matter is resolved otherwise.”
McColgan was arrested in November and charged with six counts of unlawful conduct toward a child, according to online booking records for the J. Reuben Long Detention Center.
On multiple occasions in September, McColgan allegedly hit students in the back of their heads while their heads were down on the desk, according to a police report obtained by News13. She’s also accused of rubbing hand sanitizer on a student’s open wound.
She also allegedly told the students that they wouldn’t get snacks or lunch if they didn’t answer questions, the report said.
McColgan also is accused of dumping a child out of a chair, leaving a child in the bathroom with the lights off “for an unreasonable amount of time” and hitting a child on the arm after she was hit during the 2021-22 school year.
McColgan, who was hired by the district in August 2020, was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 11, 2022, for the recent allegations.
Schroyer was also arrested and charged with two counts of failure to report child abuse or neglect, according to online booking records.
Schroyer allegedly failed to report the allegations to the appropriate people as a mandatory reporter, according to the district. She was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 1.
Schroyer was hired by the district in 2001 and has been the principal at Ocean Bay Elementary School since 2016, according to the district.
Schroyer’s attorney told News13 after her arrest that Schroyer did everything according to the law by telling who she needed to tell.
“Mrs. Schroyer is a dedicated, attentive school principal and she takes her job seriously and she works countless hours to do it right,” Morgan Martin said.
Martin said Ocean Bay Elementary School received a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2019 due to Schroyer’s leadership.
“Rebecca has been in education in Horry County for 20 years as a teacher and as a principal and other roles,” Martin said. “Her record is without a blemish.”
Schroyer’s personnel records obtained by News13 show that she has received many positive notes during her education career and do not mention any other issues.