A New Jersey dad who suspected something was "horrifyingly wrong"
at school when his autistic son began acting violently had the boy wear a digital recorder and discovered teachers verbally abusing him.
Stuart Chaifetz, 44, described his 10-year-old son Akian as a "sweet and gentle child" with a penchant for acrobatics and a deep bond with his three dogs.
So Chaifetz said it was totally out of character when he began receiving reports from Horace Mann Elementary School that Akian was hitting his teacher and a teacher's aide.
. . .
Akian spent six months working with behaviorists and other specialists who were trying to find the problem. Finally, Akian was put in a controlled scenario that pushed him to his limits and, still, he did not lash out violently.
. . .
Chaifetz put a digital recorder in Akian's pocket on a February school day. Akian is in a self-contained autism class with five other students and the device recorded six-and-a-half hours of audio.
When Akian came home from school and Chaifetz listened to the audio, he was shocked by what he heard. "When I listened to what they had done to him, I just shattered inside," Chaifetz said.
Chaifetz heard the teacher and aide calling Akian names, making fun of him, yelling at him and having inappropriate conversations in front of the children.