BROWARD (CBSMiami)- A Broward County school teacher and teacher’s aide have been removed from their classroom and are being investigated, due to the way parents said they treated their children with autism.
When his autistic son came home cursing from Pasadena Lakes Elementary, Matt Adar knew something was wrong.
“We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know if it was the school bus monitor, we didn’t know if it was a kid in the playground, we didn’t know if it was the teacher. So, we sent in a recording,” said Adar.
Adar sent his child to school with a device called Angel Sense, which acts like a baby monitor.
It picks up conversations.
What it recorded in his son’s special needs classroom is something Adar said was disturbing. There were harsh words from the teacher and teachers assistant.
“Lots of cursing at the kids. Lots of, ‘I’ll drag you over there if you don’t do your work,’ said Adar. “Just very aggressive. Just not gentle the way somebody is supposed to treat a kid, let alone a kid with autism.”
Jason and Lauren Segelbaum have an autistic son in the same class and reported what they heard to Child Protective Services.
They met with the school principal on Thursday.
“It wasn’t until the audio tapes actually came out that there’s no denying what was going on,” said Jason Segelbaum. “The principal was actually in tears over what happened, but the truth is, that doesn’t make up for an entire year’s worth of abuse that our child and the other five children in the classroom have experienced.
“Treating them like garbage, screaming at them. Making fun of the parents, they said about us, ‘Oh, if only that these parents would give their kid more therapy he’d learn how to talk,'” said Lauren Segelbaum.
Even though the secret taping is illegal under Florida law, the Segelbaum’s said they are grateful.
“Our son is non-verbal, I mean we would not know if anything is going on inside the classroom,” said Jason Segelbaum. “And we both are incredibly thankful that this all happened and it all came out.”
Their special ed advocate, Ysela Heim, said schools need more money and support to give autistic children what they need.
“Unfortunately, they are underfunded, these kids are underserved. They need a lot more training and they need more funding. The state needs to step it up a notch as well as the county,” said Heim. “There is no doubt in my mind that this isn’t happening all over the place.”
In a statement, the Broward County School District said school administrators took swift action and immediately removed the employees from the classroom.
A criminal investigation is underway and the future of the teachers is still not certain.