MARGATE (CBSMiami) – John Fishley and his wife Finola Long are parents to 5-year-old twin girls, Amani and Amari, who have autism.
Both are non-verbal and Amani needs special attention, according to her father.
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“He has temper tantrums, he self-harms and throws himself on the floor,” Fishley said.
But nothing could prepare him for what he saw in a video provided by a therapist, who a few weeks ago was in their son’s pre-K class for special needs at Morrow Elementary in North Lauderdale.
In the video, you see a teacher’s assistant grab Amani and pull him onto a chair and repeatedly try to force him to sit down.
Fishley and his wife believe these actions are child abuse.
“It was pretty awful to see him being treated worse than an animal,” Fishley said.
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Fishley said after seeing the video, they went to the Broward Sheriff’s Office to file a report and contacted the manager.
“We found out on Wednesday and the director said she would launch an investigation on Friday,” Fishley said.
But Fishley believes the director learned of the incident shortly after it happened on May 10.
CBS4 sent the video to the Broward School District. Spokesperson John Sullivan responded in a statement:
“The priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students. The District will immediately review the video and take any necessary action. »
Fishley and his wife say at the very least the teacher’s assistant should be removed from the classroom, and they say what they saw opened their eyes to what their children will go on to. be confronted.
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“If you’re not there, they’re open to abuse because they can’t speak for themselves,” he said.