Stuart Chaifetz posted a video on YouTube that had a profound affect on my day today. In the video he posted some audio extracts of his artistic 10-year-old son Akian get bullied and made fun of by teachers and staff members at Horace Mann Elementary School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
I’ve attached the video below but I have to warn you if you are a caring individual this video is very difficult to watch without eliciting an emotional response:
After watching the video I’m shocked and seriously disgusted that any human being could do this to any child let alone an autistic child. The entire school district should be ashamed of itself for allowing this to happen and worse yet for covering this up. Those involved should have been swiftly fired regardless of tenure or title.
It’s sickening to believe that this went on and that this father was forced to use an audio recording device in order to find out what was going on with his child at school.
In case you’re not in the mood to listen to the entire video here are some of the worst moments:
“Okay, Akian, you are a bastard,” was one comment on the tape from a woman who Chaifetz said was a teacher.
“Go ahead and scream, because guess what? You are going to get nothing until your mouth is shut,” was another.
He also recorded a conversation between two people in the class talking about the consequences of a night out drinking wine with a friend: “You know what I was doing this morning?” says one woman. “Heaving?” asks the other. “Oh my God, so bad. The wine won.”
Chaifetz, is a single parent, says in the video that his son regularly would go stay with his mother, but his son would sometimes feel anxious about these moves and ask for reassurance that he would see his father again.
In the tape, Akian is heard asking “May I see?” — which Chaifetz said the staff member would know referred to him, based on prior experience — and the staff member replied, “You cannot see,” followed by the sound of laughter.
The staff member’s response — which Chaifetz said was designed to make fun of Akian — caused his son to have a “half-hour meltdown.” “I know how much that hurt Akian,” he added.
After this video got national attention the Cherry Hill School District released a statement saying that those heard on the tape “raising their voices and inappropriately addressing children no longer work in the district.”
Even if that’s true is it enough? Should these people be allowed to go to another school and do the same thing over again? I think they should in fact I believe that they should be banned from being able to work with children in any capacity whether it be paid or even as a volunteer. They clearly did not have the best interests of this child and his needs at heart therefore I believe that that should disqualify them from ever holding a post that works with children at any stage.
In fact Mr. Chaifetz has started an online petition with the hopes of passing a law that would allow teachers who bully children to be immediately fired. Hopefully, if they do come up with a law like this perhaps it will also provide some type of ban for the individual to prevent them from working with children again because even if they’re fired they can just go ahead and move to another school and in my mind that is totally unacceptable.
Every child in America has the right to an education and I believe it’s about time that we expand that right to allow a child an education free from bullying whether it be from a teacher or even a fellow student. So please contact your elected officials and together we can put an end to bullying.