FILED IN: Bullying

Autistic boy bullied by teachers caught on tape, called a "bastard"


Stuart Chaifetz takes the footage of his autistic son being bullied by teachers and aides to YouTube. Photo via YouTube screenshot

A Cherry Hill, New Jersey father suspected something wasn’t quite right at his autistic son’s school.  What he uncovered has started an Internet campaign to stop abusive teachers from bullying students.

On Friday, Stuart Chaifetz posted a video on YouTube in which he said that he was shocked when he was told by school officials his son Akian, 10, had been hitting teachers and aides and throwing chairs at Horace Mann Elementary School.  According to Stuart, Akian is a gentle, wonderful, happy child, and he had never seen him hit anyone and he had never been violent.  He said he was distressed to hear these reports and thought that something was happening at his son’s school that was changing him.

Stuart had a meeting with his son’s teachers to discuss how to move forward, and they decided to bring in a behavioralist.  The behavioralist did not notice anything violent about Akian and had even tried to create situations to provoke Akian to lash out, but he didn’t.

Akian was in a self contained classroom for children with autism that have moderate to severe communication capabilities.  Akian wasn’t able to tell his father what was happening while he was at school.  After six months of meetings, on the morning of Friday, February 17, Stuart put a wire on his son and sent him to school.

“That night, my life changed forever,” Stuart said in his YouTube video.  “What I heard on that audio 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, the people that were supposed to protect him.  They literally were making my son’s life a living hell.”

In the video, two teachers who Stuart identifies as “Kelly” and  “Jodi,” tell Akian to “shut your mouth,” call him a “bastard,” and tell him he  won’t see his father again after a weekend visit with his mom.

Further into the video, one teacher is heard talking loudly in front of the students about getting drunk the night before.

“Oh my god, so bad,” one teacher says, after the other asks if she threw up.  “The wine won.”

In the video, Stuart states that throughout the day the teachers had many inappropriate conversations in front of the students, including: alcohol abuse, complaining about their husbands, complaining that they and their husbands want each other to be sterilized, complaining about parents in front of their children (multiple times), lying to parents, and colluding to subvert the IEP meeting with Stuart for Akian.

According to Stuart’s YouTube video, the entire six and a half hours of audio was given to the Cherry Hill School District.  Jody the aide was fired.  Kelly the teacher, as well as the other staff in the room, were reassigned to other classes in the district.

You can watch the YouTube video here.