A substitute teacher was fired after reportedly choking a special needs student.
Stefan Michaud, former substitute assistant teacher with the Fall River School Department in Fall River, Massachusetts, has been accused of choking a student at Talbot Middle School.
According to police reports, the school resource officer entered the classroom on March 8 to see Michaud on the floor straddled across 12-year-old Ayvian’s chest with his hands around the child’s neck.
"My son had marks all over his neck," Nicole Brennan, Ayvian’s mother, told WPRI News. "You could see where he was literally choked."
The altercation allegedly started with another student, but once Ayvian tried to intervene, the argument turned violent.
"Slammed [Ayvian] to the cement floor, whacked his head off the floor, told my son if he is to fight him back, he’ll punch him in his face," reported Brennan.
According to Jocelyn LeMaire, Executive Director of Human Resources for Fall River Schools, paraprofessionals are required to provide references and a background check prior to being placed within the school system.
"We do a very, very thorough investigation of the employee before we bring them in," she said.
Nevertheless, Brennan explained that the impact of this incident has deeply affected her child.
"He has horrible flashbacks," she said. "He sits here. He just clenches all up. He just starts building up and cries."
Family members of students at the school were shocked to hear the news.
"I think it's pretty scary," grandparent Sharon Faggioli told WJAR News. "You send your children and grandchildren to school thinking that they are safe and then something like this happens."
Michael is no longer employed with the school district. He had been working as a substitute teacher since May 2013. The 62-year-old is facing charges of strangulation and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
"I just hope that this man serves time and realizes that this is not OK no matter how mad he got," Brennan said. "It was not OK to choke a child. It's never OK to do that to a child, ever. And I will not stop until justice is served if it's the last thing I do."