A Cherry Hill father has taken to the web to combat abusive behavior he says teachers displayed toward his autistic son.
Stuart Chaifetz, in a video posted to YouTube on Friday, said that he was told by school officials his son Akian, 10, had been hitting staff at Horace Mann Elementary School. He said Akian is a gentle child, and would not get violent without being provoked.
So he sent Akian to school wearing a recording device, and said what he heard on the tape later that night changed his life.
In the tape, one staff member can be heard bragging to another about how much she drank the night before. Chaifetz said in the video he believed this took place because the class only contains children with autism who have trouble communicating.
Later in the recording, a teacher speaks to students in a harsh tone, then tells a student — allegedly Akian — "shut your mouth."
More clips are presented later in the recording, allegedly showing teachers dismissing and mocking Akian as he cried, but it was unclear from the audio what was being said.
Chaifetz said he seeks to have the teachers publicly apologize to his son and resign from their jobs, and has no interest in a lawsuit.
"It's not about money, it's about dignity," Chaifetz said in the video. "This is to reclaim my son's dignity. You owe it to him."
Chaifetz also wants legislative action taken to prevent teachers from being allowed to keep their jobs when they are caught bullying students.
After hearing the audio, Chaifetz turned it over to the school district, according to a report on Philly.com. He said he heard a teacher's aide caught on the tape was fired, and the teacher was reassigned, but was never officially informed what happened.
A Cherry Hill schools spokeswoman would not confirm either action, the report said.