Fatima Scipio knew her 4-year-old son was getting into trouble at his school in East Harlem, New York, but she didn’t know why he was acting out.
"I get numerous call from the school each and every day that my son has spit, kicked and did all of these things," she told WNBC. "I have asked the school, 'What are you guys doing to my child while he is in the school? What is the reason for him to behave in this manner? What is going on with my child at school?' And no one can answer me.”
Scipio now believes the school is inappropriately reacting to his tantrums and leaves him on a trash-filled stairwell by himself. "When he starts to to have his tantrums, that's where they place him," she said.
"I knew about the behavior issues. I didn't know he was being left in a stairwell.”
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Scipio told WCBS the punishments are physical at times. “The para-professional has dragged him down the stairs, has pinned him against the wall with his arms pinned against the wall, and he said to me, ‘Mommy, my arms was hurting,'” she said.
Scipio said she was stunned to learn about her son’s treatment. "My child is a human being. For them to treat my child in this manner, I'm flabbergasted and floored,” she explained. Scipio added that she only noticed a change in his behavior after he left day care and started pre-K.
"He started this school in September -- why all of a sudden has he turned from the sweetest kid to mean and angry and upset?"
A video purportedly recorded in late February and showing Sciopio’s son alone in the stairwell was obtained by a school worker and anonymously sent to community advocate Tony Herbert. “If this mom had done that in her apartment building and put her son in that stairwell, guess where she would be right now? Jail,” Herbert said.
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Toya Holness, deputy press secretary for the Department of Education, said they’re looking into the allegations, according to WCBS.