Like many others, we were outraged by video showing a Brighton Beach elementary school worker actually punching a 9-year-old autistic student in the face while both were in the school’s cafeteria. The person charged with hitting the youngster was actually a 59-year-old paraprofessional employed by the school to help students with special needs. The victim suffered a concussion from the heavy blow.
The incident occurred in August 2014. The worker, who was at first charged by police with felony assault, retired from the NYC Department of Education shortly after the incident. Last April, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to anger management classes.
Unfortunately for the since-retired worker, the incident was captured on the school’s surveillance cameras. Disturbingly, it took the City more than a year to turn over the video to the child’s parents – even then, the City did so only because of a judge’s orders.
Based upon what they saw in the video, the child’s parents have announced plans to sue the City for $5 million in damages. In addition to providing for damages the child suffered, the parents hope their lawsuit will trigger a change in the way paraprofessionals are hired and trained.
While the worker who actually hit the child was assigned to help another child, the victim’s own school-assigned paraprofessional was apparently caught lying about her involvement in the incident – saying that she never saw the punch, even though the video evidence shows otherwise.
The victim, now 11, is afraid of all school buildings, according to his father, and is now being homeschooled.
Why We’re Passionate About Autism
U.S. health officials estimate that one in every 88 children is diagnosed with autism every year. We love children, and are passionate about prosecuting cases on behalf of those who have been diagnosed with autism.
While the symptoms of autism vary from person to person, it’s important to understand that for the most part, autistic children have a tough mountain to climb as they try to fit into society.
School officials should realize that autistic children actually think differently than others. Many autistic children are considered to be visual thinkers, meaning that they tend to have a better learning experience with the use of visual aids. While they may have difficulty with social awareness, attention and communication, they often excel in detailed thinking and rote memory.
The Fitzgerald Law Firm Can Help You
While the exact causes of autism remain unclear, there is a wealth of information linking autism with medical malpractice and exposure to harmful toxins like lead paint. The Fitzgerald Law Firm has proven to be especially successful at litigating cases on behalf of children diagnosed with autism.
If you feel your child has developed autistic-like symptoms from exposure to toxins or malpractice, contact us today at 800-323-9900 for a free consultation.