A San Diego family believes their autistic 6-year-old son is being forced out of Dailard Elementary School in San Carlos, California, because they asked too many questions about bruises they found on his body.
The boy, John, told his father that a school aide squeezed his arm hard last December. "My husband looked at my son's wrists and could tell it was still red," Rachel, the boy’s mother, told KGTV.
The family did not want their last name used in the story.
Rachel said her husband talked to other educators and specialists at the school. "They told him right away they didn't believe my son," she said. Rachel doesn’t believe her son is capable of lying, nor can he make up details.
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Rachel got in contact with the principal, who said she would speak to the aide. However, the unnamed aide continued to work with John. "We were both very disturbed,” she said.
She then decided to contact Child Welfare Services, but was referred to the police and subsequently filed a report.
In April, John complained that another aide pulled on his necklace, choking him. When the family went to the school, the principal handed them a paper describing the laws against making false reports.
"He took it to mean the school was threatening us," said Rachel. "Then they requested a mental health assessment. My interpretation is so they can classify my son as some sort of compulsive liar and write off everything he says.”
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John’s family has filed a claim against the San Diego Unified School District. Their attorney, Dan Gilleon, pointed to other lawsuits of a similar nature against the school district. "Not only does it show that they don't want to report, it shows they actually go out of their way to threaten parents who bring them information they should bring to authorities," said Gilleon.
Rachel said the whole case was unacceptable. “As a parent, I have a right and a responsibility to ask questions,” she said.
San Diego Unified School District said in a statement that it "is performing its due diligence by thoroughly looking into the allegations."
"Since this is an active claim, no further comments can be made,” the district added.
School got out earlier this week for the students at Dailard Elementary. It’s unclear where John will attend school next year.
Photo Credit: Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr