Mother claims special needs son abused by Miami Gardens teacher

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A concerned mother is speaking out, days after, she said, her special needs son was roughed up by his Miami Gardens preschool teacher.

Tears streaming down her face, Tanya Lopez said she felt powerless to stop her son, 3-year-old Mario, from coming into harm’s way. “That’s the worst, ’cause I feel violated,” she said. “I feel like I can’t defend my son.”

Mario, a pre-kindergartner at Scott Lake Elementary School, cannot defend himself. The nonverbal toddler is developmentally delayed and unable to communicate.

Lopez said the attack took place on Wednesday. “[The teacher] grabbed him, pinched his head down,” she said. “He accumulated these scratches trying to get out of her grip.”

When Lopez came to the school on Wednesday, she was told to head straight to the principal’s office. “She used the words that, ‘Mario has been the victim of child abuse,'” she said.

“What hurt me the most were the open scratches because the flesh was showing,” Lopez added.

The accused abuser is a special education teacher with 40 years of experience with the school system.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson Daisy Gonzalez-Diego responded to the allegations in a statement that read in part, “Parents entrust us with the well-being of their children, a responsibility that is not taken lightly. Their safety and security will remain our main priority. The teacher was removed from the school and placed on alternate assignment while we conduct a thorough investigation.”

Mario’s scratches are healing, but Lopez remains worried about her son’s emotional scars.

She is calling for better training and to have cameras installed in the classrooms to protect vulnerable children. “I need help to help my son and help other children like him that don’t have a voice,” she said.

According to the school system, this teacher has no history of complaints, and Mario has not returned to school.

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