Boy with Autism Bullied by Teachers

Stuart Chaifetz plays with his son Akian Photo: Mel Evans / AP

Stuart Chaifetz plays with his son Akian

Stuart Chaifetz put a wire on his 10 year-old son with autism, Aikan and recorded staff in his elementary school in Cherry Hill calling the child “a bastard,” talking about vomiting that morning due to a hangover, and apparently teasing the child to the point where he had a “half-hour meltdown.” 

At least one classroom aide lost her job and on Superintendent Maureen Reusche said she wanted “to assure our parents that the individuals who are heard on the recording raising their voices and inappropriately addressing children no longer work in the district and have not since shortly after we received the copy of the recording.”

It was later discovered that the teacher of his son’s class was moved to another school and not fired, while a teachers union official told Wednesday that the teacher “basically was exonerated.”  However, Reusche and the education board president issued a statement saying the matter was still under investigation.

Chaifetz believes that regardless of if the teachers voice is heard on the tape or not the teacher in charge she should be held responsible for what he considers bullying behavior by other staff.

“When did teachers become more important than children?” he said.

“Even if she said nothing, she should be fired because that room was her responsibility,” he added.

Chaifetz decided to put a wire on Akian after staff repeatedly complained the child was hitting them and throwing chairs around. He could not understand why his “wonderful, happy” son would act in this way and decided to find out what was going on in the class. Akian’s autism meant he was unable to explain.

Akian has now left that school, and Chaifetz said he was “doing much better now he’s away from there.”

“He doesn’t have any of the behaviors he had then. It only happened when he was with the teacher, and the aide,” he said. “But I think he’s got some scars from this. How could he not?”