News

Young Boy With Down Syndrome Abused by School District, Parents Claim

Two years ago a young boy, who has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, epilepsy, asthma, post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss and several other serious medical issues, was abused in an elementary school in Township of Ocean School District (Monmouth County). That’s according to a lawsuit filed by the child’s parents, who charge that their child “was walked down a hallway naked in front of other students, forced to sit alone during lunch and recess, and video recorded while using the bathroom.”

The lawsuit filing was first reported by nj.com.

The boy had been placed in a classroom for students with disabilities which, according to federal and state law, was supposed to provide him with academics, as well as daily living skills. But, according to the lawsuit, the child’s aide was not properly trained or credentialed—instead, she had a background in “theatrical makeup, acting, comedy, and amateur wrestling”– and wouldn’t help him use the bathroom. One day when the mother was asked to pick him up from school because he wet his pants, other staff told her the aide had been recording him on the toilet. Also, the aide propped the stall open so other children using the bathroom or walking by in the hallway could see him. When the mother called the Ocean Township police, they said they couldn’t proceed with a case because the aide had erased the video.

In a separate incident, two staff members took the boy out of the bathroom while he was naked and had him proceed down the hallway. The mother again called the police, who said they were reporting it to the Department of Child and Family Services. They advised her to do so as well.

Since then, the parents have moved to a different district where they say their son is thriving.

It’s worth noting here that, according to the NJ Education Department’s database, at Township of Ocean School District, that 21% of its students are eligible for special education services, well above the state average of about 13%.

Laura Waters

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