Former teacher convicted of abusing autistic students

A former Las Vegas special education teacher was convicted Wednesday of abusing autistic children in a Clark County School District classroom.

Following a weeklong trial, a jury convicted Mamie Hubbard-Washington, 67, of five felony counts of child abuse and neglect for striking, pinching, pushing and verbally abusing five children from April 2006 to March 2007. The students were ages 6 to 8.

Authorities said Hubbard-Washington beat autistic students at Reed Elementary School with a yardstick and a hairbrush, even slamming one child's face into a tabletop. Authorities said she also abused the children psychologically by demeaning them. The students have problems communicating verbally.

Hubbard-Washington faces one to 30 years in prison but remains free on her own recognizance pending a June 16 sentencing hearing before Judge Abbi Silver.

Defense attorneys have argued that Hubbard-Washington inherited a chaotic classroom where she had to gain control.

Authorities began investigating Hubbard-Washington after learning of her behavior from teacher aides.

Hubbard-Washington, who previously taught in Chicago and had no criminal history, had worked with special education children since 1985.

She was placed on paid administrative leave in May 2007. A month later, she was no longer employed by the district.

A civil case filed by the children's parents against the Clark County School District has lingered in federal court for several years.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at or 702-380-1039.