The father of a 10-year-old autistic boy kept getting reports from school that his son was disruptive and causing problems. It didn’t make sense. He wired his son with a recording device to find out what was really going on.
“When I listened to the audio, my life changed forever,” says Stuart Chaifetz. “What I heard was so disgusting, vile and just an absolute disrespect and bullying of my son. That happened, not by other children, but by his teacher and the aides and the people who were supposed to protect him.”
“Shut up,” a voice says on the audio tape, which captured discussions on February 17th at Horace Mann Elementary in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
A boy can be heard screaming. A teacher’s response is, “Go ahead and scream, because guess what? You’re going to get nothing until your mouth is shut.”
At one point in the six-hours of recordings the boy, Akian, is called a “bastard.”
Several negative comments about parents are made in front of the children. There are inappropriate conversations about alcohol use and problems with their marriages.
Below, a 17-minute video Chaifetz made that includes snippets of the audio recordings. More audio can be found on a “teacher bully” website he set up to bring this issue to light.
In an email interview, Chaifetz tells me bringing the recordings to the attention of the school has resulted in the termination of an aide. But another aide and the teacher were only transferred to another school in the district.
The school district has not been available for comment yet.
Chaifetz says he doesn’t want to take legal action against the school, but he does want a “public apology” from the teacher and aides who were in the school room. And he wants them all to resign.
He also wants legislative action so that no teacher who “bullies a child” is allowed to keep their union job and continue working in a school.
“No one who treats children like that, who call them vicious names, who humiliate them, deserves to be a teacher,” he says. “What you did was so disgusting you should be walking around with your head in shame.”
By LINDA THOMAS