MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The mother of an autistic 12-year-old boy says her son’s summer camp used excessive force while he was being restrained and she has asked Miami-Dade Police and the Department of Children and Families to investigate.
The founder and a principal director at the school meanwhile is fighting back, saying the youngster was restrained because he was trying to bite another child and saying this is the first such allegation about her summer camp and school in 12 years.
In an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, Millie Jimenez says her son Angelo came home June 25th from the Learning Links School and summer camp with bruises on his face and arms and a cut on the back of his neck.
She showed CBS4 the photos of his injuries.
She also showed us a “behavior notification” report from that date in which the school at 14515 Southwest 120th Street said that Angelo “did not calm down and went to hurt the teacher.”
“He had a very big bruise on his jaw line over to his neck,” said Jimenez, “At the top of it he had a lot of big bruises and swelling under his eye. He was brutally restrained by a P.E. Coach who is not PCM certified, that is he is not certified in Professional Crisis Management which is what you need to show you know how to respond to kids with special needs and to know how to restrain them and how to use certain force.”
“I’m just very frustrated and upset and confused,” she said. “Because for 9 years I trusted and loved the teachers there and the betrayal is what hurts. Just because he is tall and screams does not mean he will hurt you.”
Olga Ruiz, a Principal Director and founder of the school, told CBS4 that “He was restrained to prevent another child from getting attacked and so we could evacuate the rest of the children. A DCF investigator was in and out of here and left in a very positive way with no findings.”
She said the investigator went to the school on Tuesday.
Ruiz said she did not want to comment on camera and said while the employee was not certified, he had “extensive experience over 9 years in dealing with kids with special needs.”
She also said, “We received 5 stars from greatschools.org and nothing like this has happened in 12 years. I am very shocked.”
She also said she could not be more specific because she did not want to criticize a minor with special needs.
A source close to the school said Angelo had attacked several teachers in the past and was an “aggressive child.” But his mother said she was never told anything like that.
On Tuesday afternoon, the mother’s attorneys said a report was filed with Miami-Dade Police and they said they were told that investigators would look into the allegations.