Pompano Beach elementary school teacher accused of kicking student with autism

POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - An elementary school teacher is under investigation for allegedly kicking a 5-year-old boy with autism in Pompano Beach.

The boy’s father, Michael Faloney, met with the principal of McNab Elementary School Friday morning upon finding out about the investigation involving his son Thursday.

The allegation was made last week by an anonymous person who reported seeing the teacher putting his foot on Faloney’s son’s face while he was napping on the ground.

Faloney’s son is like any other kid. He loves sharks, fish and his iPad, but he cannot speak.

“He was diagnosed [with autism] at 2,” Faloney said. “He’s nonverbal, very friendly. He can mimic words.”

Because his son is nonverbal, communication is sometimes difficult for the family.

“When he’s sick, he can’t show us what hurts. He’ll sometimes, if I go, ‘Does it hurt?’ he’ll go ‘Hurts,’ but he’s just mimicking,” Faloney said.

The father was extremely frustrated when he was told that a teacher at McNab may have done something to hurt his son.

“A week ago, there was an incident at McNab Elementary School where his teacher is being accused by a staff member that he had applied his foot to my son’s face while my son was laying down,” Faloney said. “Whatever action my son was doing that he didn’t like, he used his foot, whether it was a nudge, kick, whatever, he put his foot to my son’s face.”

A staff member called Child Protective Services.

“I was told that CPS came and took pictures of my son to document any marks, which was a week later, so I don’t know what marks they’re looking for,” Faloney said. “I don’t know what the rules are, but I’m under the impression that if my son is not able to speak and he’s a minor, if you’re gonna take pictures, I should at least be able to be there to be present.”

According to the boy’s family, the whole thing happened without his parents’ knowledge. They were notified of the alleged incident almost a week later.

“We were never notified, so my son continued to go to school Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with the same teacher,” Faloney said.

When he met the principal Friday morning, he said she downplayed the incident.

“The foot to the face turned into a nudge,” Faloney said. “I don’t want the teacher to come back on Monday to teach my son until the investigation is done. If he does something to retaliate against my son, no one will know.”

A Broward County Public Schools spokesperson has since released a statement on the incident that read, in part, “The school is communicating and working with the family and will take the administrative actions that are deemed appropriate.”

Despite the statement, Faloney said the district’s actions are not good enough because of what happened to his son.

According to the boy’s family, ever since he started preschool at McNab in August, he has been coming home with bruises. However, they can’t tie those injuries to the school or the teacher.

Faloney wants other parents to know just in case there are other incidents.

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