Family: Teacher slammed special-needs student to ground
An Ocean Hill family says their son is afraid to return to school after a weeks-old incident in which the boy was allegedly slammed to the ground by his gym teacher.
On the day he was supposed to celebrate being student of the month at P.S. 16, gym class took a turn for 7-year-old Jose Santiago. His mother and father admit that the boy, who was diagnosed with autism and ADHD, has been disruptive before. That day, the parents say Jose threw his books to the floor and was slammed to the ground by his gym teacher.
The move was forceful enough to leave bruises on his legs and arms, and marks on Jose's neck, the family says.
Usually, the school calls right away after such incidents, but instead it was the gym teacher who first called the family later that day. However, Jose's parents say that their son's aide, who is always with him but admits she was on her cellphone at the time, told them the teacher downplayed what happened.
The family tried to speak with the school's principal but was unsuccessful. They were also turned away at the police station. After consulting with a lawyer and almost a week after the incident, the parents met with the principal, who filed a report but would not share it with them, nor did she interview Jose.
The gym teacher is still working at the school.
News 12 reached out to the city's Department of Education. It says in a statement, "The safety of our students is always top priority, and we are investigating this matter."