by Lisa Fogarty
Our greatest hope as parents is that, when our children leave us each morning to go to school, they are surrounded by qualified, caring individuals who treat them as if they are their own. Or, at the very LEAST, treat them as humans.
Unfortunately, neither one of those things happened at one school in Brooklyn recently, when a public school employee was charged with felony assault for allegedly punching an 11-year-old autistic boy after he spilled water on the cafeteria floor.
Milton Parker, a 58-year-old paraprofessional from Public School 225, reportedly told Anatoly, Jr. to clean up some water he had spilled on the floor. But the child didn't understand what he was being asked to do, according to his father, and his inability to follow the para's request made him incredibly angry. Parker reportedly grabbed Anatoly and punched him in the face.
Anatoly Veltman, the child's father, says that the school employee told him his son called him "something racial." Right, as if that would even serve as a decent excuse to go off the rails and attack a kid. But, according to Anatoly, all he said to the para was that he should keep his hands to himself.
Assuming Parker is guilty, there's no doubt this child could have taught the adult in the room a thing or two about respect and personal boundaries.
Oh, and maybe even about being a good role model, teacher, and sane adult.
The boy was treated at a nearby hospital for a possible concussion and bruising on his face, and his father says he is scared to return to school. Video footage from a school security camera seems to confirm this awful incident took place during the summer school session last week. Parker has been charged with felony assault and has been suspended without pay.
With so many compassionate and qualified people out there who would love to work with kids but can't find jobs, it's sad to think a person who would do something like this was granted the privilege of being in a classroom. As a parent, the thought that an educator would betray our trust and do harm to any child is sickening. Children -- and particularly those with special needs -- are entitled to a safe educational environment populated by school leaders who are equipped to handle those needs.
And, even if they lack formal training, there's no excuse for lacking patience and kindness.
Do you trust everyone who works at your child's school?