PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WSVN/CNN) – Parents of special needs students at an elementary school in Florida are demanding accountability after teachers at the school were recorded cursing and screaming at the children.
Most of them aren’t very verbal, but when some of the kids started saying strange words at home, the parents got suspicious about what was happening in the classroom.
The special needs class at Pasadena Lake Elementary was empty on Thursday. Instead, all of the students, who are on the autism spectrum, are home. Their parents are too afraid to send them to school.
“I was just mindblown because it never even entered my mind that a teacher is capable of doing such a thing to a child,” said parent Miriam Adar. “He is defenseless.”
This all started when one of the 6-year-old children started cursing and his parents couldn’t understand why.
“My son mimics everything he hears,” said parent Matt Adar. “He was saying it in an aggressive tone. Get over here, I’m going to F you up. Get over here, I’m going to mess you up. So I knew that it was an authoritative figure.”
He put a device in his son’s backpack. It’s called an “Angel Sense,” and it’s made for children on the autism spectrum. Their parents can call it and listen in.
What they heard the special education teachers saying to the mostly non-verbal children in the classroom is disturbing.
“So do your work. (Inaudible) Drag your ass over there. Watch me. Try me.”
You can hear the teachers cursing.
“That mother (expletive) say (expletive) to me.”
And you hear teachers getting angry.
“You better not touch me or scratch me you understand? You are getting a diaper change!”
In one clip, you hear this little girl named Mercedes screaming.
“Why are you not doing your work? Why are you not doing your work? Go to timeout. Go to timeout.”
Mercedes’ parents say that clip is from the same day the child came home with a bruise on her arm.
“That is fear. That is panic,” said Mercedes’ mother Gisela Lopez. “She was in pain. She was in real pain. I know that cry.”
All the parents met together and notified the Broward Sheriff’s Office, who is now investigating.
“It is not just that they are being mean to our children,” said parent Jason Segelbaum. “It is that they are being mean to our children and they know for a fact that they believe they can get away with all of this.”
Broward Schools is also investigating and issued a statement that says “Upon becoming aware of allegations involving a teacher and teacher’s aide, school administrators took swift action and immediately removed the employees from the classroom.”
School administration followed proper protocol and contacted all appropriate agencies, including the district’s special investigation unit.
“This is a school. This is a public school,” said parent Lauren Segelbaum. “his is where you expect your kids to be safe and not have to worry.”
The district says the teacher and the aide have been reassigned while the investigation continues.