Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The story of Stuart Chaifetz is all over the internet. Stuart wired up his son, Akian, who has autism, and sent him to school. The recording proved that Akian was being verbally abused by his special ed teacher and the teacher's aide.

The aide was fired; the teacher was re-assigned, not fired.


We entrust our children to schools and staff for important hours every day.

I have witnessed verbal abuse of a child in Special Ed. My stepson experienced it in Woodstock District 200. He took a tape recorder to school in eighth grade and promptly got in trouble for it. It was a worse "crime" to take a tape recorder to school than it was for the bullying to occur.

Then, a year later and in summer school after a change in placement, he didn't want to go to school because of bullying. After he missed the bus one day, he agreed to go to school, if I would drive him there. So I left Woodstock, drove to Wonder Lake to pick him up and drove him to the therapeutic day school on the north side of Elgin, near I-90 and Illinois Route 31.

He wanted to take a tape recorder to school and record the bullying. Now, this is from a 9th Grade student. Pretty savvy, right?

To get him out of the house and into the car, I agreed to his taking a tape-recorder. On the 40-minute drive to school, we discussed what was happening at school, and I suggested that there might be a school rule about tape-recording. When I suggested that we ought to talk with the principal upon arrival about the use of a tape-recorder, he agreed that this would be a good idea.

When we arrived, we asked to meet with the principal, and the special ed director and she came to the school entrance. I explained about the tape-recorder and the rule I suspected was in place. Instead of listening and complimenting my stepson on coming to school and asking for permission, they went ballistic. Right in front of me.

I let him stand up for himself and he did a good job of remaining polite. Finally, they went "over the top" and I intervened and called a halt to their bullying. Even so, I hated to think what was likely to occur after I left.

No wonder he didn't want to go to school.

How do we protect our kids from bullying by teachers and staff?

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