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Parents remove child from school due to teacher's behavior

6:37 PM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Christophers made a decision that seems extremely dramatic, but after observing how their child's special education teacher interacts with children, they say they had to do something. 

"We're not happy the way the teacher is handling the kids in the autistic classroom. We feel it is inappropriate," said Roderick Christopher. 

The Christophers have removed their nine-year-old from Pinedale Elementary and are reluctant to send him back to school.

"These children are our children. Other people may not care because they are quote unquote not normal. They still deserve the best," said Shaunita Christopher.

Their child has autism. It is a disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

The Christophers said their nine-year-old was doing well at Pinedale elementary, and they have the awards to show it, until this school year. They're convinced that the problem is the way his teacher interacts with autistic children.

"He's never complained of headaches until the first week of school being in that class," said Shaunita.

After noticing a change in their child, they had to do something.

"He doesn't want to go to school until this year," said Roderick.

The problem is how the teacher deals with Autistic children who are Stemming, a repetitive behavior.

"You should be able to redirect them in a certain way that is less stressful to child. You don't want to startle the child if they're stemming," said Shaunita, "You want to redirect them to bring their focus back to the task at hand."

They are convinced the teacher was creating more stress and asked for their son to be placed in a different classroom, but they say the school refused.

"Her reasoning is she didn't want to move him out of the class,"said Roderick, "She felt he needed to be with his peers and adjust to change."

They have spoken to a truancy officer, and filed complaints with DCF, and the school board district. The Christophers plan to keep their nine-year-old out of school until his classroom environment improves.

"I'm gonna keep fighting, I'm gonna keep fighting. If I have to home-school him, so be it," said Shaunita Christopher.

The school district is not at liberty to discuss individual student information.

Spokesperson Jill Johnson said Pinedale is adding another classroom and working on a plan to relocate teachers and students to this classroom.

The Christophers received a call from the district reassuring them that the problem will be resolved.

First Coast News

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