Why have more than 4 million people witnessed a father’s rage, pain and frustration on this YouTube video? It all began when one man couldn’t understand why his usually gentle 10-year-old son was hitting and throwing chairs in school. So this father did something out of the ordinary: he sent his child to school wired for sound.
He says that what he heard that night in 6 hours of taping changed his life forever. Now as we too listen to the adults who have been hired to teach this young boy instead humiliate and curse him we must remember that although this instance occurred in Cherry Hill, NJ, this kind of abuse could as easily be going on in your town or in mine.
And experience tells us that this was probably also a typical day, that this kind of cruelty is a daily event in a classroom where none of the students, all of whom are on the autism spectrum, are able to tell their parents what happens each day in school.
This kind of abuse also stands as a potent reminder of the danger of separating out the children with special needs and educating them in isolation far from their more typical peers. This traumatic exchange would not likely have occurred in an inclusive school setting where transparency and accountability reign simply because there are many students and teachers around who can and will report any abusive behavior.
The fact that this teacher was not fired but simply transferred to another district school also stands as a potent reminder that the danger remains very real for countless children with special needs.
Unless we as parents, advocates and educators work single-mindedly toward the day where our children are educated in settings of transparency, trust and true learning.
— Jay Ruderman