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Stuart Chaifetz sent his 10-year-old son Akian to his New Jersey school with a wire and recorded adults in the boy's classroom making fun of him and telling him to "shut his mouth."
Kelly Altenburg, a teacher in a classroom for children with autism in New Jersey, was put on paid leave on Friday after being accused of bullying 10-year-old Akian Chaifetz.
Akian's father, Stuart Chaifetz, posted a YouTube video containing audio clips of inappropriate comments made by adults in his son's classroom, according to the New York Daily News. He sent the 10-year-old to school with a recording device in his pocket and found out that teachers and aides were making fun of his child, telling him to "shut his mouth" and discussing things like their alcohol use from the night before in front of the children.
Lawyers for Altenburg, a special-education teacher at Horace Mann Elementary School in Cherry Hill, said she was not present when the abusive comments were made, reported the New Jersey Star-Ledger. The school district's investigation also found that Altenburg wasn't present during the recording. Since the verbal abuse has been made public, one aide has resigned, another was put on leave, and a substitute aide was not invited back to the school.
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"I wanted to be proactive rather than reactive," superintendent Maureen Reusche said to the Philadelphia Inquirer in regards to putting Altenburg on leave. "My primary focus is the instructional environment in the building."
Reusche also said she hoped to minimize "disruption to our schools" since the identity of Altenburg was made public in a second YouTube video, released Wednesday by Chaifetz, according to the Inquirer.
In many cases across the United States, suspicious parents have used convenient and inexpensive technology to find out what has been happening to their children with disabilities. According to the Associated Press, there have been at least nine similar cases to that of Akian in the US since 2003, where children have been called things like "bastard," ''tard," ''damn dumb" and "a hippo in a ballerina suit."