PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - Parents of special needs students at an elementary school in Pembroke Pines are demanding accountability after teachers were recorded cursing and screaming at the young pupils.
The special needs class at Pasadena Lakes Elementary School was empty on Thursday. Instead, all of the students, who are on the autism spectrum, stayed home with their parents, who said they are too afraid to send them to class.
Miriam and Matt Adar said they became suspicious when their son, who is on the autism spectrum, began using swear words at home.
“I was just mind-blown, ’cause it never even entered my brain that a teacher is capable of doing such a thing to a child. He’s defenseless,” said Miriam.
The child’s parents said they couldn’t understand how the boy could use foul language.
“My son mimics everything he hears, but he wasn’t whispering it. He was saying it in an aggressive tone: ‘Get over here. I’m going to eff you up. Get over here. I’m going to mess you up,'” said Matt, “so I knew that it was an authoritative figure.”
To determine what triggered his son’s change in behavior, the concerned father placed an “Angel Sense” device on his son’s backpack. The device, made for children with autism, allows their parents to call it and listen in.
The Adars said they were disturbed by what they heard the special education teachers say to the mostly nonverbal children.
“So do your work. (Inaudible) Drag your ass over there. Watch me. Try me,” a teacher is heard saying in the recording.
A teacher was captured using profanity.
“That mother (expletive) say (expletive) to me,” she said.
Another teacher became angry at one of her students.
“You better not touch me or scratch me, you understand? You are getting a diaper change!” she said.
One of the students, called Mercedes, is heard screaming.
“Why are you not doing your work? Why are you not doing your work? Go to time out. Go to time out,” one of the teachers is heard yelling at her.
Mercedes’ parents said that audio clip is from the same day their child came home with a bruise on her arm.
“That is fear. That’s panic, and she was in pain. She was in real pain because I know that cry,” said Gisela Lopez, the girl’s mother.
All the parents met and notified Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives, who are investigating the allegations.
Two of the parents, Jason and Lauren Segelbaum, said these teachers need to face consequences for their actions.
“It’s not just that they’re being mean to our children. It’s that they’re being mean to our children and they also know for a fact that they believe that they can get away with all of this,” said Jason.
“This is a school. This is a public school. This is where you expect your kids to be safe and not have to worry,” said Lauren.
Broward Schools is also investigating. Officials issued a statement that read in part, “Upon becoming aware of allegations involving a teacher and teacher’s aide, school administrators took swift action and immediately removed the employees from the classroom. School administration followed proper protocol and contacted all appropriate agencies, including the district’s Special Investigation Unit.”
District officials said the teacher and the aide have been reassigned and removed from that classroom while the investigation continues.
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