Rochester Schools Take Action After Alleged Abuse of Autistic Student

Posted at: 02/12/2013 10:45 PM
Updated at: 02/12/2013 10:48 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A Rochester mother says she is outraged at the violence her son went through while at school. Now she's speaking out with video to back up her claims of abuse by a school employee.

Superintendent Michael Munoz and the school district's attorney spoke out late today. Both said the district did investigate and took appropriate action. That's not enough for the boy’s mother though. She says video proves a paraprofessional physically abused her autistic son and she should've been told about it sooner.

"I can’t even describe to you in words how it feels as a parent," said Jade Werth. She’s talking about watching her son, Austin, washing windows at school, then being shoved multiple times by his paraprofessional.

This was something she saw through the schools surveillance video. She says she hadn’t been notified though, until 6 days later. "I received no phone call, no incident report, I received nothing in that form of communication to me," said  Werth.

"The district is not allowed to discuss the nature of any allegations against an individual," said the school’s attorney Michael Waldspurger. Even to the student’s mother. Waldspurger said they couldn't because the Minnesota Data Practice Act.

"It’s frustrating for the school district, probably more than it is for you. It is just a difficult situation for districts to be in and I think your absolutely right,  this is something that calls for legislative action," said Waldspurger.

However, the school says the incident hasn’t been taken lightly. The man in this video was immediately put on leave while the school hired an investigator. Since then, he was suspended for 5 days, has been prohibited to work directly with students, and agreed to resign from his position a paraprofessional.
"The district moved the employee to an entry level probationary position as a maintenance worker," said Superintendent Michael Munoz with Rochester Public Schools.

A move that the superintendent says for was for the safety of future students. "The safety of all of our children, not just special needs students, but all of our students are important to me," said Munoz.

"I think he's proven by these videos that he's not deemed worthy enough to be with children period," said Werth about the now former paraprofessional. Werth says she's so upset, she'd like to take Austin out of the Rochester School District, but it would be too difficult because it's a place he's learned and knows.

We should point out, that employee has not been charged with any crime.