A mother said her 7-year-old son with autism was “viciously beaten” and pushed down a school’s stairs by a teacher’s aide in New Jersey, resulting in his hospital treatment.
The teacher’s aide was suspended and charged “with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child” on May 10, attorney Patrick Toscano and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to McClatchy News.
He was arrested that same day, according to an office spokeswoman. This is when the boy’s alleged beating was first reported by NJ.com.
The incident is reported to have occurred in April at Quitman Street Community School in Newark, an elementary school that “touts its ability to educate, protect and provide” for autistic children, Toscano, an attorney for the mother, told McClatchy News in a statement.
Toscano recently filed a notice of tort claim on behalf of the boy’s mother against the Newark Board of Education, accusing it of “negligent hiring, retention and monitoring” of the teacher’s aide. The notice’s filing means that the mother plans to bring a lawsuit against the board.
McClatchy News reached out to the board and school officials for comment on May 11.
The teacher’s aide is accused of hurting the boy on two separate occasions, most recently on April 13, with the classroom teacher present, according to the notice obtained by McClatchy News.
As a result, the boy was left with “bruising, scratches, abrasions, severe and permanent emotional distress,” the notice said. “The physical and psychological injuries sustained are severe, permanent and unthinkable in nature.”
On April 13, Newark police officers arrived at a local hospital, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, over a “child endangerment” call and met with the boy’s mother, according to a police report attached to the notice. She initially brought her son to a doctor who advised them to go to the hospital and call the police.
The mother told police that she picked up her son from school that day and found him “screaming,” the report said. She said her son told her the teacher’s aide “dragged him and pushed him down the stairs.”
Additionally, her son said the teacher’s aide “grabbed him using an open hand and pushed him down to the floor,” according to the mother.
In the police report, officers noted that they observed the boy had visible bruises on his body and face and that his tooth was bleeding.
The investigation was then taken over by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, a Newark police spokeswoman told McClatchy News in a statement.
“In some 37 years of practice, I have never experienced such a despicable and abhorrent set of circumstances,” Toscano said.
The Newark Board of Education has six months after the notice of tort claim was received to answer the complaints contained within, according to the notice.
“The Newark Board of Education should promptly make this child and his mother whole to the extent it plausibly can – if that is even humanly possible,” Toscano added.