What's the most horrifying part of this story?
Is it the abuse that Frances Sepulveda reported to P.S. 94 principal Ronnie Shuster last summer?
When nine-year-old Adam Epstein came home from P.S. 94 in the East Village last summer with bruises and welts on his back, his mother, Frances Sepulveda, says she immediately went to the principal.
"Not only did I show them the bruises, I told them that I wanted it remedied immediately. I was crying, I was upset. My son cannot speak. He is a non-verbal autistic boy, so he couldn't tell me what happened," said Sepulveda.
Is it the abuse that Adam suffered at the same Manhattan school in December?
But in December, an assistant principal called to say there had been another allegation. A substitute teacher reported that a teacher's aide in his new class hit Adam on the head.
Then a few weeks later, the principal called to say there had been a third incident: a parent reported seeing the same teacher's aide grab Adam by the arm and slam him into a chair.
Is it the fact that Elidia Jordan, the aide who hit and grabbed Adam in December, is already back in the classroom, working with other disabled children?
Or is it that Principal Shuster apparently never investigated how Adam got those "bruises and welts on his back" last summer at all and just moved Adam to another class without reporting the allegations, as he is required to by law?
Cheryl McCollins is calling for the Judge Rotenberg Center to release video that shows her son Andre being tied down and given electrical shocks:
The ordeal began after Andre hit a staff member. Inside a classroom, as a camera was recording, he was tied to a restraint board, face down, a helmet over his head.
He stayed like that for seven hours without a break, no food, no water, or trips to the bathroom. Each time he screamed or tensed up, he was shocked, 31 times in all. His mother called the next day to check on him.
"I said, 'Andre.' I said, 'Hello.' And so he said, 'Help me,'" McCollins said.
After spending three days in a comatose state, not eating or drinking, Andre was taken to Children's Hospital, where he was diagnosed with "acute stress response" caused by the shocks.
Even though I am not religious, I believe that religion is most often a source of strength and a guide to compassion for families with autistic kids. The video above makes me sad for Ethan, whose parents think God has healed from autism. What a burden that must be for his tiny frame to carry! It makes me sad for his parents, who may blame themselves if his "recovery" turns out to be less complete or miraculous than they now believe it to be. But, really, it makes me saddest of all for the Christians I know who turn to God for help embracing and supporting a child who is different rather than asking Him to obliterate those differences. It's not my team, but it's a good team, and I hate to see it represented like this.
The mother and stepfather of a 12-year-old Arizona boy with Asperger's syndrome have been arrested after his teachers noticed and reported signs of abuse:
Detectives discovered the boy had been routinely beaten by his stepfather Gregory Clyde, causing "extensive and excessive bruising to his buttocks, thighs, arms, and upper legs," according to court documents. The victim was also made to do pushups as a form of discipline and hit with a spatula with serrated edges, the police report alleges.
As for 33-year-old Jennifer Clyde, detectives say she was present when her husband beat her son, and it was her rule that if Gregory had to yell, the boy would be spanked.
Authorities say the punishments went well beyond what is considered reasonable and prudent discipline.
The detective wrote: "It is my belief that this abuse is a result of their frustration at his neurological disorders, even though they have demonstrated absolutely no intention of learning about these disorders and how to better structure [victim]'s home life to accommodate them... [victim] is an inconvenience to their life as a family and shows both through her actions and her direct statements that she is unwilling to put forth the effort to take care of [victim]."
Alexia Bogdis, a Redwood City, California, teacher has been arrested for alleged abuse of two boys at Roosevelt Elementary School:
"The teacher came behind him and kicked his chair forward and my son fell into the table and hurt his chest," the boy's father said, speaking to ABC7 on the condition that he remains anonymous. His 5-year-old autistic son was enrolled in a special education pre-school class taught by Bogdis who has been charged with abusing two boys.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti says there are nine criminal counts, "One, actually kicking a child and then finally, depriving one of them for food or drink the whole day," she explained.
The 5-year-old's father says that boy was his son. "At a time when it was really warm and my son came home and his face was totally red, and he looked like he was about to pass out, and we just kept on giving him water and milk to try to hydrate him," he recalled.
The parents say they complained not only to Bogdis, but to school district officials and others in the school community. "Unfortunately, the common response was, 'You guys are being a little bit too sensitive. This person knows what she's doing and your child is safe.'"