Special education teacher calls out CPS, says agency ignored reported issues with Valva brothers

A teacher said she called Child Protective Services on behalf of the boys many times saying they had more behavior issues, bruises, lost weight and wouldn't be given breakfast.

News 12 Staff

Oct 13, 2022, 10:54 PM

Updated 648 days ago

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Teachers testified that the Valva brothers were regularly cold, hungry and had an overall decline in their health in the years leading up to Thomas Valva's death.
Special education teacher Nicole Papa was crying in the court room on Thursday in the Thomas Valva murder trial.
"They just didn't look like the same child - they were thin and frail and not the same," Papa said.
The teacher said she called Child Protective Services on behalf of the boys many times saying they had more behavior issues, bruises, lost weight and wouldn't be given breakfast.
"When you would hug them, you could feel their bones," Papa said.
The boys' teacher said there was one time that CPS was at a faculty meeting and she angrily stood up and told them, "We have a family in the school district abusing children, we call you and you find it unfounded."
Papa claims there was a pattern of CPS being called, issues with the Valva boys getting better, then declining again.
Third grade teacher Jennifer Holborow also took the stand and taught Anthony Valva during the 2018-2019 school year. She said everyone was proud when he was the first in the grade to win a multiplication crown.
Holborow said there were always issues with Anthony Valva being hungry and cold, so she kept a special red sweatshirt for him in class. She says he did not take it home because, "He said he would get in trouble or it would get taken away."
The third grade teacher says the boys' condition was deteriorating, saying she saw bruising the shape of an adult hand on Anthony Valva's forearm. She says she reported this to CPS, as well.
Both of the teachers said they would give the boys food, even after being instructed by their father, Michael Valva, not to.
Defense attorney John LoTourco says he thinks each teacher admitted that Michael Valva was active in his children's lives.
"He participated in their schooling, he cared about what was happening," LoTourco says. "Regardless of how you feel about his disciplinary actions, he certainly cares about his boys."

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