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      04-24-2012, 04:35 PM   #1
persian54
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Father, Puts Wire On Son With Autism, Records Verbal Abuse From Teachers

Cliff notes:
Father puts recorder on special needs child
Records teacher and teacher aide verbally abusing children
Aide is fired, Teacher still works at school
Sad story...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...usaolp00000008





Quote:
When Stuart Chaifetz sent his 10-year-old son to New Jersey's Horace Mann Elementary School wearing a hidden audio recorder, he couldn't have predicted what he would uncover.

The move came in reaction to accusations from the school that his son Akian was having "violent outbursts," including hitting his teacher and teacher's aide -- claims that Chaifetz claims are against his son's "sweet and non-violent" nature.

Akian, who has Autism, returned with a tape containing hours of apparent verbal and emotional abuse from his classroom aide and teacher, a recording which his father then published on YouTube.

The Feb. 17 recording started with Akian's aide and the teacher, whom Collingswood Patch identifies as Jodi Sgouros and Kelly Altenburg, respectively.

The two engage in inappropriate conversations, like joking about their alcohol abuse and sex lives in front of their students -- all of whom have behavioral conditions and, according to Chaifetz, communication difficulties that prevent them from relaying the conversations to their parents.

"You would never get away with talking about your alcohol abuse the night before if this was a mainstream class," Chaifetz says in the YouTube video. "And that's the point, isn't it? They knew none of those boys could go home and tell their parents that the person who ran that class was under the influence of alcohol and was throwing up."

As the tape continues, the teacher and teacher's aide's behavior turned from inappropriate to cruel.

"Who are you talking to, nobody?" Altenburg asked Akian, who sometimes talks to himself. "Knock it off," Sgouros chimed in.

According to the video, Akian became upset, and starting crying.

"Go ahead and scream because guess what? You're going to get nothing until your mouth is shut," the classroom official is heard saying. "Shut your mouth."

Due to his son's anxiety, Chaifetz, who is divorced from his wife, has to reassure Akian that he will return to his care after the boy spends time with his mother.

"It's not a big deal," he said, describing the reassurance ritual in the video.

When Akian asked Sgouros for the same reassurance, however, she answered "no," sending him into an emotional panic. The teacher's aide, too, responded cruelly.

"Oh Akian, you are a bastard," Sgouros said, according to the audio recording.

Although Sgouros, the classroom aide, was fired after the father presented the recording to school district officials, Altenburg remains employed, but in a different classroom.

“That my son's teacher was not fired and still works in the school district is an outrage I am not willing to allow to pass in silence,” Chaifetz said in an email to the Huffington Post.

“She betrayed my son and caused him great pain. If some union rule or HR regulation has allowed her to keep her job, then the law needs to be changed so that the next time a teacher bullies a child, especially one with special needs, they will be immediately fired. For me to do nothing would mean I was treating my son with as much disrespect as they had," he added.

An online petition on Change.org and a Facebook page calling for the teacher's termination have already received attention.

Susan Bastnagel, Cherry Hill Public School District spokesperson declined to comment on Altenburg's continued employment, but told The Huffington Post that the incident is a "personnel matter that the district took seriously and handled appropriately."

Akian's troubling experience is not unique, nor is his father's method of exposing believed wrongdoing in the classroom.

"I have also been stunned by how many emails I have received from people with special needs who were bullied by teachers when they were in school, and from parents who have a situation that mirrors what I went through," Chaifetz told The Huffington Post. "These parents are desperate to find out what is happening to their child and have asked for help on how to wire them."

This was the case for parents of a special needs student at Miami Trace Middle School in Ohio, who sent their daughter to school with a hidden tape recorder last fall after the girl repeatedly complained about teacher bullying.

The revelation was shocking: the educators on the recording called the child lazy and dumb, and forced her to run on a treadmill with increasing speed.

"Don't you want to do something about that belly," former teaching aide Kelley Chaffins says in the recording. "Well, evidently you don't because you don't do anything at home. You sit at home and watch TV."

The girl and her father spoke to Ann Curry on NBC's "TODAY" last November and, in a tearful interview, the concerned dad recounted how the abuse had affected his daughter.

"She got to where she didn't want to go to school," he said. "She was ... starting to harm herself to keep from going to school and we knew we had to do something at that point."

Chaffins was later forced to resign from her position.

Other bullying incidents have also been exposed by hidden cameras. After Julio Artuz, a 15-year-old at Bankbridge Regional School in New Jersey asked his teacher to stop calling him "special," the teacher told him, "…I will kick your a-- from here to kingdom-come until I'm 80 years old."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article named Jodi Rosenfeld as the possible "Jodi" referred to in the video. Stuart Chaifetz has since confirmed that this is not the teacher he refers to, according to Collingswood Patch.
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      04-24-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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Society is so poor these days.
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      04-24-2012, 05:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E90SoFlo View Post
Society is so poor these days.
This.


Society is really a sad place .... its getting worst by the day.
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      04-24-2012, 05:12 PM   #4
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Wow, good for the Dad.
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      04-24-2012, 05:23 PM   #5
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I'm so surprised that man kept his cool. How in the world does that teacher still have a job? If that was my son, heads would roll. I mean seriously, that is just one day, probably not even the worst school day that kid had, what kind of sick minded person are you to harass a special needs child.
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      04-24-2012, 05:33 PM   #6
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Should the dad sue the school? the teacher? the district?
Can he even sue?
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      04-24-2012, 05:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by persian54
Should the dad sue the school? the teacher? the district?
Can he even sue?
Yeah it's really fucked up!! I read somewhere that his evidence (the recording from the wire tap) is considered illegal as only law enforcement can acquire such evidence "legally".

Again I'm not sure of the laws regarding how he acquired his evidence.
I feel all involved should be fired and never allowed to work jobs involving children again.
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      04-24-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSB335d View Post
Yeah it's really fucked up!! I read somewhere that his evidence (the recording from the wire tap) is considered illegal as only law enforcement can acquire such evidence "legally".

Again I'm not sure of the laws regarding how he acquired his evidence.
I feel all involved should be fired and never allowed to work jobs involving children again.
I think that may only apply to certain States, I'm not sure though. On the other hand, if it were illegal to do so, maybe that is why the father isn't going through with a lawsuit or suing, etc.
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      04-24-2012, 05:55 PM   #9
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why not. this is america. everyone is suing somebody...
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      04-24-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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why would it be illegal to do so?
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      04-24-2012, 05:55 PM   #11
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Makes me sick to my stomach.
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      04-24-2012, 05:56 PM   #12
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The teachers union and the practice of tenure has ruined this countries educational system. Its nearly impossible to get rid of terrible teachers with tenure.
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      04-24-2012, 06:03 PM   #13
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I believe that in most states only one of the parties needs to know about the recording for it to be legal, admissible evidence.
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      04-24-2012, 06:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinbahnz View Post
why not. this is america. everyone is suing somebody...
Yep you can sue, if you have a claim (and you have satisfied several other procedural requirements depending on the nature of the suit/parties). There are some procedural rules in place to make that sure frivolous and claims without merit are dispatched of pretty early in the process (at the very initial stages of filing a civil suit).

For example:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) -

(b) How to Present Defenses. Every defense to a claim for relief in any pleading must be asserted in the responsive pleading if one is required. But a party may assert the following defenses by motion . . .

(6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted

And then there is 11(b)(2) -

(b) Representations to the Court. By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper—whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it—an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;

And IF there is a frivolous claim, 11(c)(1):

(c) Sanctions.

(1) In General. If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court may impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for the violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm must be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee.
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      04-24-2012, 06:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by persian54 View Post
why would it be illegal to do so?
item #5 may help explain things


http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs9-wrtp.htm#wt4
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      04-24-2012, 06:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdyaman View Post
item #5 may help explain things


http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs9-wrtp.htm#wt4
But the recordings were not from a phone line. does that law still apply?
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      04-24-2012, 06:45 PM   #17
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Yes it still applies, You can't "wire" tap, or use electronic devices to record people without letting them know that you are doing so. Thats why every time you call into a call center it says "could be used for training purposes"
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      04-24-2012, 06:53 PM   #18
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This is fucking disturbing. Idk how he kept his cool nor how that teacher kept her job/title after this.
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      04-24-2012, 06:59 PM   #19
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Wow..words cannot describe how fucked up this is. Shame on the teachers.
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      04-24-2012, 07:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E90SoFlo View Post
Yes it still applies, You can't "wire" tap, or use electronic devices to record people without letting them know that you are doing so. Thats why every time you call into a call center it says "could be used for training purposes"

NJ is a one-party consent state, so as long as that boy knows he was being recorded, it was not wiretapping.
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      04-24-2012, 08:43 PM   #21
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If it were me, I would slap a lawsuit on that teacher faster than she could say "I'm sorry." I wouldn't sue for money, I would sue to make sure that teacher legally cannot teach ever again.
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      04-24-2012, 10:03 PM   #22
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I feel sorry for the kid and the many other students who get this treatment.

If this happened in Australia the teaching career of those "teachers" would be over right away... none of these BS 'laws' defending the teachers, the school/govt/private operator could be held liable in court.

Well done to the father for some proactive action.
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