Father Learns His Autistic Son Is Being Bullied by Teacher, Aides After Sending Him To School With a Wire
Stuart Chaifetz, father of an autistic 10-year-old boy named Akian, became alarmed when his son began receiving notes claiming he was being violent in class.
"I could not understand why this was happening," Chaifetz wrote on his website. "I had never witnessed Akian hit anyone, nor could I dream of him lashing out as had been described to me."
After meeting with Akian's teachers, therapists, and the social worker at Horace Mann Elementary in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Chaifetz realized something was "terribly wrong." He says the teacher and the social worker mocked him for his concern, and "tried to downplay" the outbursts.
It was then that he decided drastic action needed to be taken:
On the morning of Friday, February 17, 2012, I wired my son and sent him to school. That night, when I listened to the audio my life changed forever. I heard my son being bullied by his teacher and aide.
Chaifetz had over six hours of audio replete with taunts and mistreatment.
At one point, Akian is called a "bastard." Twice he is told to shut his mouth. Several negative comments about parents are made in front of the children, and inappropriate conversations about alcohol and other extracurricular problems are frequently conducted.
Chaifetz says that bringing the recordings to the attention of the school has resulted in the termination of an aide. But another aide and the teacher — whom he identifies only as "Kelly" — were merely transferred to another school in the district.
"I love and respect my son too much to let those who mistreated him have their shameful actions buried and hidden," says Chaifetz, who demands a "full and public apology from all those adults who were in my son's class for what they did to him."
Speaking with The Daily Dot, Chaifetz said he wasn't seeking financial restitution, and was not planning to take legal action. "I'm not going to file a lawsuit. "It's not about money. It's about dignity. This is to reclaim my son's dignity."
An online petition in support of Chaifetz's cause has been set up at Change.org.