NJ father catches teachers on tape mocking & bullying his autistic child

How does a special needs teacher who verbally abuses and otherwise blatantly mistreats an autistic child in the classroom not get fired on the spot? I guess tenure would be the answer to that question, since only the aide (presumably not tenured) was canned after this inexcusable incident.

Still, I don’t get it.

If you ask me the father in this case is showing a great deal of restraint by not filing a lawsuit of some kind against the Cherry Hill School System.

Fox 29 in Philadelphia reports:

CHERRY HILL, N.J. – A New Jersey father says he was so desperate to save his autistic son from the bullying of teachers that he sent him to school with a hidden tape recorder.

You’ll never believe the shocking things the teachers were caught saying.

FOX 29’s Sara Madonna has the recordings from a disappointed, outraged father.

Stuart Chaifetz says his 10-year-old who has autism has always been a very gentle, loving boy. So when he started getting reports from school that his son was hitting teachers, he knew something was wrong after putting a recorder in his pocket for a day.

Chaifetz says he caught his son’s teachers gossiping, talking about alcohol and violently yelling at students.
He took the audio to the Cherry Hill School District, where officials fired one of the teachers involved after hearing the tape.

Chaifetz also made a YouTube video and Facebook page exposing the outrageous behavior. He says school districts should weed out teachers who shouldn’t be in a classroom.

“I really hope this starts a conversation, and I hope people out there who are, who do have the power, can take a breath and say, ‘If this can happen here, then it can happen in every state in every town.’ And as long as we keep this quiet, it will continue to happen,” Chaifetz said.

Chaifetz says he hopes the video leads to legislative action for zero tolerance from this type of behavior from educators.

Meanwhile, he says his son, Akian, is in a new school environment and doing really well.

Here is the YouTube video. It is 17 minutes long, but goes by fast.

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  • I would punch the teacher in the face just one time really hard and I wouldn’t care about going to jail. Glad the kid is in a new school and is doing well.

    • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

      Me too, Steven. Me too. May God bless Akian and his family.

  • this kind of story breaks my heart for kids.

  • This 300lb+ man is blubering like a fool while typing this. It kills me to see my toddler grandson go to daycare with people he seems to like… and trust me, they are good people at his daycare. This father has the restraint of a saint. I don’t know what I’d do if I found out my little guy was told he can’t see Papoo. We have the technology to demand IP cameras in the classroom or something. I can remember some pretty whacky teachers when I was in school but this is way beyond my experience.

    • Amen, brother… I don’t think I could restrain myself.

    • WordsFailMe

      Really good thoughtw, Sal.

  • conwis

    I hope that something can be done about the teacher.

  • Not only would there be a new policy manual out this, but if my son with Down’s Syndrome were ever treated this way, I’d own the school district and I would do whatever I could to own everything these monsters have on this earth and then donate the proceeds to charity on live TV and humiliate these cretins until I got tired of humiliating them… Teacher’s unions should be banned, outlawed, and these cowards thrown in prison. Sigh…. I am sure I’d get arrested for battery charges.. LMAO…

    • WordsFailMe

      Then make that first punch count.

  • msverde1

    Wow!! No further comment is needed!

  • MaxineCA

    I have very mixed feelings about the video. I certainly understand the father’s anger, so don’t get me wrong. I’ve had close experience dealing with a young autistic boy like Akian. I’m glad the father pulled him out of the school and that Akian is doing well. Since that is the case, I would recommend that the father NOT play the tape for Akian in the future. Akian has moved on and is happy, so why upset him again. I think it gets down to the father’s guilt for allowing this to go on for 1 1/2 years before noticing there was a problem.

    He should have gotten an attorney early on, not to sue the school, but one to help him get IEP funding so Akian could have had an private aid with him in the classroom. None of this would have happened if an independent aid had been in the classroom.

    It is so sad that so many people are collecting welfare for having babies, but families have to literally fight the school districts and the state to get IEP funding to assist autistic children. Most parents of autistic children don’t even know what services are available. Even if they know, unless they have an attorney who specializes in the area, (go to the school board meetings to fight for them) they will be turned down because of the cost.

    Well that’s my take on the topic.

    • kong1967

      I think he said he noticed it early on and went to meetings for six months and a behaviorist worked with his son for a while. He just didn’t understand what was happening because he couldn’t see what was going on in the classrooms. He probably felt guilty because he didn’t find out exactly what was going on sooner.

    • teri_b

      I think he had to post this virally to help inform the public and alert other parents.

      However, I do think he should have not posted his son’s picture nor said his name. Although, I respect his choice as a parent to do so.

    • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

      Maxine, the whole situation is sad. It’s a little confusing, though. Were there two people actually saying those things or just one? And was it the person who did say them the one who was fired? Btw, Maxine, what does someone, perhaps a widow or recent divorcee with a baby, or rape victim with a baby getting welfare have to do with anything? Babies need to eat.

  • MikeBri527

    When you get a system run by the democrat party, this should be no surprise to anybody. Our school systems are failing, are extremely expensive, and in this case are almost criminal because they are run by the democrat party. It’s sad to see it happen but I’m not surprised.

    In my town, they’ve eliminated the sports programs in the middle schools due to budget problems; yet the teachers say they’re there for the students – it’s all about the students they say. However, they won’t give up any of their own benefits (of any kind) so the students can have their sports programs. They are complete hypocrites.

    • Genevieve Cooper

      Are you kidding? This isn’t about politics! And if you want to blame anyone, you can blame our REPUBLICAN gov. Chris Christie for all of his budget cuts to the educational system in the last two years. Give me a break. You fool. You are more concerned about a political system than you are for the actions of individuals. You need to get your priorties and thoughts straight…

      • MikeBri527

        You must be a teacher…or the spouse of one…or a democrat..or a union member…or a supporter of a “free public education” (one of the ten planks of communism by the way)

        No I’m not kidding. This is the kind of thing that is bred by a government run school system. Blaming the governor is asinine. Why should the state have to supplement the local school systems anyway? You are proving my point that they are too expensive and need to be supplemented by state money. This is a political system that breeds this kind of behavior. Teachers have been led to believe they are entitled to tenure and therefore cannot be fired even for extremely poor conduct as exhibited in this case. The political system has allowed the teachers unions to buy perks in exchange for votes. It is you who are the fool that doesn’t see that. My thoughts and priorities are straight. It is you who are the complete fool who believes the political system is not at fault. You are extremely naive and ignorant. Do us all a favor and go away!

        • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

          You make no sense. Governors brag when test scores go up and are often blamed when they go down. Individual character, or the lack thereof was at play in that classroom — not a “political system!” Truth be told government support CAN lead to vast educational improvements all around. One Nordic country dramatically improved the education of their students by vastly improving teacher pay and standards –culling the brightest students to become teachers and paying them vastly higher salaries than before. It took a couple of decades, but now students in that country score the highest in the world ( except for the Chinese who have been taken off the list for “some” reason)!

          • MikeBri527

            I make perfect sense. The only reason they brag about it is to get their publicity from the big money they spend on the failing systems.

            You are delusional to think that politicians really care about the school systems. All they care about is getting re-elected. They buy teachers union votes with lavish healthcare plans, pensions, tenure, etc. at the expense of the taxpayers. Truth be told government intervention into the school systems does much more harm than good. You are very naive.

            I could care less about what’s done in one Nordic country. My kids don’t go to that school. This incident didn’t happen there. It happened here in this country. That’s what I care about.

            The evidence is out there. The costs keep going up and yet the test scores remain flat. Before you continue to believe what you write. Take a look at this video report on public schools in the US by John Stossel:

            It’s about 40 minutes long and WORTH EVERY MINUTE.

      • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

        Genevieve, you are right. What those teachers did was because of a failure in their characters. And Christie’s budget-cutting was the worst. You’d think they’d look at the shining example of the Nordic country that a couple of decades ago decided to vastly increase educational spending — on teachers’ salaries and the like– and decided as well to get the best and the brightest students to become teachers.

        That country’s students now score the highest of any nation ( except China which for some strange reason has been barred from the list) on subject tests!

        What Republicans are doing in the name of alleged “fiscal responsibility” is nightmarish! Bill Gates became Bill Gates because waaay back when– there was a computer in his junior high school– a rarity! If this country wants to remain competitive in the 21st Century and beyond, it’s got to do MORE for education — not less!

    • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

      ?! Huh? The Governor of New Jersey is a Republican. And what does democrat or republican have to do with anything anyway? Obviously are good people in each party who would have NEVER spoken to a child like that — and certainly would have never talked about drinking alcohol in front of them!

      • MikeBri527

        It’s a well known fact that the democratic party runs the public school systems. If you don’t know that, then you are naive.

  • mike morrison

    I hope he sues the EVER LIVING CRAP out of the school district and the teacher’s union.

    • Susanna958

      My thoughts exactly.

  • The sad truth of the matter is that we will have a band-aid put on this but will never have the situation fixed. As long as there is no freedom to chose a school via our tax dollars, there is no need for the public school to change its tune.

    This can only be corrected at its source, the money. Stop the flow of dollars into the deep pockets and watch reform take over faster than a speeding bullet.

    • kong1967

      I’m against financing a school based on grades and taking money away if they don’t get high enough results. A lot of times it’s not the teachers. Have you ever seen “The Principal”? The inner cities would be tough schools to manage and get people to graduate….over half the students drop out. It’s the culture, the community and the parents who don’t give a crap. Additionally, if government were to issue vouchers that could be used at private schools (which you didn’t mention so this isn’t to anything you said), government would start forcing the private schools to operate in the same manner as public schools. They would become failures, also.

      There does need to be the leeway to easily fire a teacher or principal that is bad or abusive to the kids.

      • The vouchers go directly back to the parents and not to the schools directly. This helps prevent having government stick their noses in areas that it should not belong. However, even private schools have some things that they must adhere to via state law.

        It is not just the culture but also the teacher union that has no desire to help kids but only to keep the spigot flowing into their pockets. Sadly, it is not just unions but also the school administration. We had an issue here in Indiana that highschools were telling students that decided to drop-out that instead of claiming drop-out status which hurts the school and possibly its funding to say that they are just going to go the home-schooling route.

        Because of this, the legislature wanted to put restrictions on home-schoolers, punishing them. When it is the administration that is causing the issue.

        • kong1967

          Ah, I’m glad you told me that the vouchers go directly to the parents and not to the schools. That changes things because the government would not be connected to the private schools. But….couldn’t the government still make guidelines for private schools to follow if they accept vouchers? I don’t mean general guidelines, but destructive guidelines like not being able to discipline the kids or not being able to kick kids out who dont want to learn or are disruptive. In any case, if we can keep the government from destroying private schools like they have done to public schools, bring out the vouchers.

          The examples you gave of what hurts the education of the kids shows one thing to me. It’s not the grades that should be scrutinized, but the corruption of the system via the unions and the school administrations that destroy the education our children get. Judge the system, not the kids….because pulling money out of schools for punishment for bad grades only hurts the kids we want to do better. Reform the system and get the unions out of it.

        • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

          The vast majority of teachers work very hard to help children reach their potential. As the daughter of two teachers, I know that first-hand. When the school district decided to do away with certain publications that my mother knew her students enjoyed and learned much from, she paid for them out of her meager salary! It was a struggle, but the intellectual advancement and joy of learning fostered in her students were worth it. Those kinds of stories play out all over– in cities and towns across this nation. Most teachers are unsung heroes!

        • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

          I’ll have to come right out and say it. That is ridiculous. One of the reasons this country became so great is because of our insistence on supporting public education!

      • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

        Kong, you are right on so many points. Society is starting to see the children who had to raise themselves because of welfare “reform,” too. Mitt Romney understood the value of his wife staying home during his children’s formative years. But he wanted welfare moms to go to work in 2 years when their children are babies.

        Republicans didn’t even want children to get to kindergarten. Years ago, the only woman in Congress who had been on welfare almost begged her colleagues in the House to give people more time. She is an intelligent, hard-working white woman (who found it easier to find a job than some), who nevertheless said it took her 7 years to get off of welfare!

        People should stop with the stereotyping. When people are given a chance to breathe — with a government boost when desperate– they can become great contributors to society later on. JK Rowling, the billionaire author of the Harry Potter books, was on welfare with a baby when she wrote the first book in the series! Because of her, hundreds, if not thousands of people became employed in the manufacture of product tie-ins, the publishing and distribution marketing, and the movies.

        A young black lady in our country, USA, was on welfare when she tackled Medical School — and GRADUATED. Because of the example and financial stability of JK Rowling and her, there is a very high probability that no one in their families will ever be on welfare again!

        • kong1967

          I’m sure a lot of people on this site will disagree with me, but I don’t think welfare is a bad program….as long as it’s used sparingly (on giving it), responsibly, and isn’t abused.

          Unfortunately, there is massive abuse in the system with many people taking advantage of it that shouldn’t be. I have no problem helping a mother with her children unless she wants to be a baby factory with no father figure present and has no desire to do anything for herself. Women like that are using the system to get a free ride. I knew such a woman and she bragged about having babies so she wouldn’t have to work. I have worked with several men that get fired then don’t try to get another job because they enjoy the state paying their bills. These things drive me crazy. Your examples were good ones, but unfortunately not all cases are as respectable as those. We do have a lot of freeloading scumbags that don’t carry an ounce of their own waterbucket and have no intention of even trying. I will respect anyone no matter how poor as long as they are upstanding.

    • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

      ?!? The exact same thing could and DOES happen in private schools! The problem is a failure of character on the part of those particular teachers. There are many public school teachers who wouldn’t be caught dead saying such things. My parents were teachers and were teetotalers. Out of all the teachers I knew growing up — and there were at least 50, I only know of ONE – a man- who drank. And he was a bit of a pariah!

      • there is nothing here said about individual teachers. I know, my sister use to teach in public schools. However, with the removal of the Bible and disciplining, there is great concern for what is being taught in school today.

        Character is a symptom of the overall problem. It is the teachers’ union and administrations that go along with them that are the overarching problem with the public education today. Parents who want to be involved are sideline by not being informed, and even not allowed to act on their child’s well being by the US gov. (don’t forget the episode down in NC regarding a child’s lunch).

        If the public education of children did not have DC on its back and even the state house, I would think that there will be a chance. However, I will not be holding my breathe. Those who control education control the children.

  • Susanna958

    What a great dad. Now, where is Chris Christy?

    • kim

      Excellent point!

  • Mike Lee

    Way to go, Dad. Sue them. I know you aren’t after money, but that’s the only language they understand.

    • kong1967

      That’s the only thing that could get the teacher fired, probably.

  • kong1967

    Unions, tenure and teachers do not belong together. I had a teacher that picked me up and threw me across the hall into a disabled student that was in multiple casts. I can’t remember the disease, but he had casts on both legs and more. The same teacher threw a basketball at two students extremely hard at their backs (different days). He was caught peeping into the girl’s dressing room….and it was 8th grade. He didn’t get fired for any of it.

    • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

      Kong1967, that is truly horrific. What with all that has gone on in the Catholic Church –and in Catholic private schools– I would hope that nowadays people realize the importance of talking early and unceasingly until terrible teachers like that are removed from the classroom forever!

      • kong1967

        Part of the problem is that kids are afraid to speak out. They have to face that teacher every day. I should have mentioned that I didn’t say anything right away, either, but it did come out and nothing became of it.

  • Colonel Neville

    Listened to the whole appalling [teachers union?] thing. My Lord. LITIGATE! Don’t let it happen again to others. No, really. Colonel Neville.

    • teri_b

      The taxpayers will pick up the tab. There needs to be a way to hold the teacher and the aides responsible. Unfortunately, their union will run to their defense.

      • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

        ?! Apparently the union didn’t run to the defense of the Aide. She was fired!

  • WordsFailMe

    Disgusting and vile=Public Schools run by Unions, taught by graduates of liberal “education” professors.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Here’s a good example of where mob justice may be the the only course of action. You are not going to get any relief of justice otherwise. Tweet the home addresses of these lesbian wine suckers.

    They have websites where bad contractors are listed. We need a website where fould teachers names, photos are posted

    If Romney is thinking about a VP from New Jersey, I’d recommend Chaifetz.

    • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

      ?!? “Liberal” education professors” had nothing to do with the failure of CHARACTER in that teacher and that teaching assistant! I know many spiritually devout public school teachers who do not drink alcohol at ALL, ever. And they would never verbally abuse a distraught child!

      • WordsFailMe

        I don’t care for generalizations either. I guess if I found general fault with the public Schools system it would be with the Administrators who have relinquished control to the unions. It is interesting that in most civil service professions, when unions are allowed in they must negotiate with the existing naive and inexperience District management on behalf of the county or whomever.

        Secondly, the county or funding authority generally promises public school management, the “negotiators,” that anything granted to the union members, like free healthcare,m etc, will also be GRANTED TO THE MANAGEMENT STAFF! Is that unbelievable? So when a manger gives in and grants a benefit to the labor group, that manger gets the same benefit, or better, for himself!

        Wouldn’t it be a better idea to tell the negotiators that whatever they gave to the unions would have to be deducted from their benefit package?

        You can’t fire teachers, you can’t change them and you can’t control them. You can control where your kids are educated, thank the Lord.

  • wodiej

    Wonder why kids today are so angry and rebellious? Unbelievable. It isn’t just the schools, it’s the parents. I don’t understand bringing a child into the world and refusing to take care of it.

    • E. Lee Zimmerman

      ??? That’s what you get from this video?

    • teri_b

      I hope you are not accusing this father of anything. He stated that he is a single father (divorce happens frequently when raising special needs children), and from what I saw of this father, his intervention was critical in rescuing this child from his abusers.

  • Sober_Thinking

    Fired, heh, put in jail. There’s a special place in hell for this sort of evil.

    I’m happy his child is now safe.

    • teri_b

      I am happy too that this child is now safe. But there are many more children who don’t come to school wired. How can anyone be sure their child is safe?

      • Sober_Thinking


        This is a dangerous reality.

  • Islam_Sucks

    Teacher fired by school will soon be working on Obamacare administration.

    • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

      ?!? President Obama has nothing to do with that. And the teacher is in New Jersey. She’s a lot closer to REPUBLICAN Governor Chris Christie than to President Obama!

  • keninil

    New Jersey!! Chris Christie’s state. Does he pick up this ball or let it go by ??

  • Amy

    This is just foul. He should not only have lost his job, but have child abuse charges filed against him.

  • 12grace

    This is disgraceful. If that were my child, I would sue the teacher, the school and the board of education. As it is, this teacher will go on to hurt another child and the school via our tax dollars will get a huge pension rewarded to them for sadistic behavior.

  • That’s child abuse. As governor or state attorney general, I would seek jail time.

  • demsaresatanic

    There’s this autistic poster over at redstate named garfield that writes anti-Romneyrants 24/7. As you can see — that worked out well for him. Even though Newt is dropping out — you can bet autisic garfield will continue his meme. Sad. No meds can help him.

    • Doesn’t sound like he needs meds. Sounds like a pretty sharp one.

      • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

        MSGT, I concur! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!

    • teri_b

      Are you calling him autistic as and insult, or is he really? If he really is, then I am not surprised that he keeps repeating a behavior. That is one of the characteristics of being autistic. Please be a little more understanding, OCD is very strong in autistics. Their life is very hard, so I think you can just ignore the rants and thank the Lord you have an easier life.

      If you were just insulting him, you might try not using a specific handicap to insult him with. Sometimes people are just jerks.

  • I had a problem with a principle bullying my child. It was like dealing with a child.

    • loveit1721

      where was the principal of this school for the last year and a half, locked up in an office? obviously not checking classrooms and interacting with teachers and students.

  • Juggler77

    The unfortunate part of this is that the father can be sued by the teachers for illegally recording their conversation.

  • Fireplug52

    I disagree with him about not suing. I detest that culture where everybody sues for the littlest things, but the only way he will receive any remedy is to sue. The unions will protect those disgusting people. I hope that someone will take further action against those despicable people besides transferring them to another school.

    • loveit1721

      What an major insult to other children to transfer her to another school.

      He must sue, no one wants her forced apology. She and her aide are beyond disgusting!

  • teri_b

    I am so angry right now. My oldest child is a high-functioning autistic. I had problems with a kindergarten teacher, and subsequently the principal and the teacher of a good touch/bad touch program. Fortunately, I am not a single parent and had the ability to take him out of school and homeschool him.

    This father sounds like a wonderful man. I have no doubt that his child has suffered worse on days that he was unaware of.

    I have a friend whose kid was bullied for an entire year on a daily basis, and the school refused to help. Unfortunately, the father of this child thought it would make him into a man.

    I homeschooled children for two decades, and I am sick that my tax money is confiscated from me to support child abuse. Not to mention how much of my money it costs me to provide an education for my children; in essence, I pay twice.

  • Please post the petition on this website for people to sign .

  • That is horrible that the teacher is still teaching.I hope Akian is better.

  • Rightstuff1

    The guy is making a huge mistake, truly, the only language the teaching unions and schools understand or fear is a lawsuit. I mean really, he is calling for the scum that behaved this way are suddenly going to be humble and contrite and seeks forgiveness…???!!! Hello?!!! these low-lifes are just that low-lifes….don’t do anything other than sue their collective asses…..

    If ya don’t want the mney fine give it to a good charity….

    • loveit1721

      You are so right! he is wasting time, needs to file a lawsuit, no one wants to hear a forced apology from her or the disgusting teacher’s aide also.

    • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

      Actually, public shaming is a motivator, too.

  • DebbyX

    What a wonderfully involved father. Great job watching out for the most vulnerable among us, our children. If all parents were like him, there would be no problems in our school. Period!

  • Yazz55

    short version —> the problems “tenure” can create

    • loveit1721

      Tenure is a joke, what other jobs can you get tenure for and you don’t even work year round. You get a lot of time off.

      • Kaitlyn Marshbanks

        After teaching children for 9 months — you NEED 3 months off — believe me! But teachers don’t usually really get that. Many are taking recertification classes or working on advanced degrees in the summer to help them become better teachers.

  • I am truly sorry your son had to experience this type of treatment for so long. Thank God you took action to remedy your son from such pain. Although he went through several months of fowl treatment by demonic teacher, he will be greatful that his father stood up for him. Because you knew your sons personality that made you aware that something was wrong. Something similar to this happened to my son who is not autistic. Nonetheless, he is and always has been a very sweet child and listens to what he is told. He is never the one to challenge an adult. But for some reason when he was being baby sat by a neighbor, she complained a lot about his behavior day after day. He even called 911 on them. To make a long story short, I knew something was not right and I sent him to a daycare where the teachers and him never complained. I wish I had strapped a wire on my son doing the time he was with the neighbor, I may have found some really disturbing things going on. Keep fighting for your son and make sure all are aware of those teachers in that school system.

  • I think these adults who where put in such a position by the school system to take care of, nourish, and teach these children to the best of their abilities should be removed by the same system that bestowed trust in them to do so. If the system can’t do this, then I think the government should step in and do it for them. This is no way for anyone, at any time, to treat a child, autistic or not.

    Joseph Marsh

  • kjFinn

    Its bad enough parents have to worry about kids being vicious to each other, now we have to worry about teachers? Outrageous!
    My Autistic son was forced to lick a bathroom stall by other kids. As a parent it’s heartbreaking to witness. I blog about our experience at http://www.aroadtorecovery.org