PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WSVN/CNN) - Parents of elementary school students with autism in Florida are demanding accountability after teachers were recorded cursing and screaming at their children.
The special education class at Pasadena Lake Elementary was empty Thursday. All of the students, who are on the autism spectrum, stayed home because their parents say they’re too afraid to send their children to school.
Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives and Broward Schools are investigating after the parents of a 6-year-old boy in the class recorded disturbing audio of the teachers screaming and cursing at their students.
"I was just mind-blown because it never even entered my brain that a teacher is capable of doing such a thing to a child. He is defenseless,” parent Miriam Adar said.
Miriam and Matt Adar say they became suspicious about what was happening in the classroom when their 6-year-old son began using swear words at home.
"My son mimics everything he hears... He was saying it in an aggressive tone. ‘Get over here, I’m going to mess you up.’ So, I knew that it was an authoritative figure,” Matt Adar said.
Concerned, the father placed an “Angel Sense” device on his son’s backpack. The device, which is made for children on the autism spectrum, allows parents to call it and listen in to their children’s surroundings.
The Adars say what they heard the special education teachers saying to the mostly nonverbal children was disturbing.
The teachers can be heard cursing and yelling angrily at their students. In one clip, a student named Mercedes can be heard screaming.
"That is fear. That is panic. She was in pain. She was in real pain. I know that cry,” said Gisela Lopez, the girl’s mother.
All the parents met and notified the Broward Sheriff’s Office, who is now investigating.
Two of the parents, Jason and Lauren Segelbaum, say the teachers need to face consequences for their actions.
"It is not just that they are being mean to our children. It is that they are being mean to our children, and... they believe they can get away with all of this,” Jason Segelbaum said.
The school district is also investigating the allegations, which it says involve a teacher and teacher’s aide. Both of the accused have been removed from that classroom and reassigned while the investigation is ongoing.