Peoria family blames classroom aide for autistic son's injuries

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PEORIA -- An autistic boy is recovering from cuts and bruises that he got at school, and the allegations made by his family are shocking.

The boy's mother is claiming that he was roughed up by a classroom aide that was supposed to be taking care of him. An investigation by Glendale Police's Child Crimes Unit is under way, but the boy's family wants answers from the school.

Wednesday, Monique Manjarrez was called to son Jeremy's school to pick him up early. Kachina Elementary administrators told Monique her son had fallen in the bathroom while in there with a classroom aide. But she says when she got to the school, Jeremy's injuries told a different story.

“He looked like Rocky -- punched, his eyes were swollen, he had a shiner right here on his right side, and he had the bump on the back of his head, like a golf ball,” she said.

Jeremy, 12, is autistic and can't communicate like most kids his age.

“Jeremy is a special child to our family,” his aunt, Mary Lou Jurado, told 3TV.

So Monique rushed him to Banner Thunderbird Medical Center.

“I took him to the ER and the doctor stated that it looked like he had been punched in the face,” Monique said, “and I have documents on that.”

When we met 12-year-old Jeremy, his injuries were already beginning to heal. But photos taken after the incident show more severe bruising.

Monique believes the classroom aide who was watching him is to blame. She says she had raised concerns about that staffer before.

“I think that he got angry, and he got aggressive,” she said. “I told the school on November 3, at the IEP, ‘Please do not have him alone with my son.’”

Glendale Police confirm their Child Crimes Unit is now investigating this case. The Peoria School District says they too are looking into it. But a district representative says, so far, the aide in question is still working in the classroom with special needs children.

“I really, really want it investigated, for our family and for other children’s’ families,” Jurado said.

In the meantime, Jeremy’s family is pulling him out of the school.