A father desperate to know what was really going at his son Aiken (with autism) at school, he was told Aiken was being violent, which was strange so he made a desperate measure and send his son wearing a wired what he heard was bullying, abuse not by his son’s classmates but by his own teachers.
44 year-old Stuart Chaifetz is the proud father of 10 year-old Aiken Chaifetz an autistic boy, with a heart of gold, he is never violent said Stuart, but his new teachers at Horace Mann Elementary School said otherwise.
They send him notes almost everyday about Aiken’s violent behavior, Stuart met with teachers at school, but the 10 year-old boy they describe was not his son, Aiken is never violent, he is actually a sweet boy, and all this aggressive behavior was allegedly just happening at school, he needed to know what was really happening at school, so the only tings left for him to do was to send Aiken wearing a weird, but what he heard when Aiken got home from school that day was disturbing.
My name is Stuart Chaifetz, and my son, Akian, is a ten-year old boy who has Autism. Akian has always been a sweet and non-violent child, and that is why it was so distressing when notes started coming home from his school, Horace Mann Elementary in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, saying that he was having violent outbursts, including him hitting his teacher and aide.
I could not understand why this was happening. I had never witnessed Akian hit anyone, nor could I dream of him lashing out as had been described to me. In October, I had a meeting with the IEP team (the teacher, school social worker, occupational therapist and speech teacher) to try to figure out what was going on. From that meeting, a behaviorist was called in who wrote a report. I sat down with the behaviorist on February 8, 2012 to review the findings.
It was pointless; even though the behaviorist was in the classroom a number of times, not only had he never witnessed any violent event, but when he tried to create a scenario that would cause one to happen, he failed.
Something was terribly wrong. I felt I was beginning to lose my son — that these outbursts were changing his very nature. The teacher and school social worker tried to downplay it, to the point of almost mocking me for my concern. But I knew my son. I knew this wasn’t him. And I knew I had to find out what was happening in his class that was having such a dramatic impact on him.
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 forever changed, for I heard my son being bullied by his teacher and aide.
Teachers talked about drinking and then they abused Aiken, shouted at him and even called him a bastard.
Stuart talked to the school, the aide was fired and the teacher was moved to another class, but Stuart said the problem won’t stop there, that teacher must be stop teaching at any other school, so he made the tape public.
“I don’t want her teaching anyone ever again. She lost her privilege to do that.
“You don’t hurt my son and get away with it, but that’s what they were doing,” he said. “They told me, ‘It’s a personnel matter and we can’t talk about it.’ Well, you can’t talk about it, but I can. I’m not going to keep this a secret.”
Last November we heard the story of another girl with special needs who was bullied by her teachers. Stuart had started a campaign so no other children be a victim of bullying by their teachers, you can sign his petition here