A special education teacher on the Big Island has been arrested for allegedly assaulting one of his students.
The boy’s family says the teacher choked him and threw him against a fence, while an aide assigned to the child did nothing to stop it.
The boy’s mother says the fifth-grader has been traumatized. And he hasn’t been able to go back to school since it happened last week Monday.
“I have all these bruises all around my neck,” said 12-year-old Dashay Souza Nascimento.
His family says he was on a field trip with other special education students at Keaau Elementary School when he started acting up and threw a rock at his teacher. A witness who called the police told Dashay’s mother what happened next.
“And he just began telling me what he saw. The teacher choking my son, that the teacher pinned my son up against a chain link fence,” said Serena Nascimento, Dashay’s mother.
In a video recorded by Dashay’s therapist later that day, Dashay says the teacher also kicked the boy’s legs from under him.
“He went with his foot on my foot and I tripped and then he caught me by my jacket and then he pulled me back up like this,” said the boy.
The teacher, David Alipio, was arrested and charged with third degree assault.
Dashay’s mother admits that her son, who has autism and other learning disabilities, can be difficult. But she’s shocked that a teacher would act this way. And she says Dashay hasn’t been the same since.
“It’s been rough, he’s been having nightmares. He yells out in his sleep, stop, leave me alone. He kicks, he swings, he tosses, and turns,” said Nascimento.
“Trauma is real and especially a kid that has the disability that Dashay has had his whole life. It’s been a challenge and it’s taken a lot for him to just be at school,” said Cyndy Meyer, Dashay’s therapist.
Nascimento adds that there’s an aide assigned to be with her son while in school and she says he didn’t do anything to stop the teacher.
“He said that the teacher is his boss. He wasn’t even the one that called 911. It was this stranger that called 911,” she said.
The family has hired attorney Jeffrey Foster who says he will file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights for the U.S. Dept. Of Education.
He says he will be requesting a federal investigation. And enforcement to improve the recognition and protection of students living with a disability.
The teacher posted bail of $1,000. The State Department of Education says it cannot comment on the incident because it’s a personnel matter. But the teacher is on department directed leave. The aide is not.