A Mesa mom says she wants answers after she was told a teacher was abusing her autistic son.
Maria Beltran says she got a surprise visit from social workers and the Mesa Police Department last Wednesday asking if she had noticed any injuries on her 5-year-old son Doroteo Castro.
Doroteo attends Holmes Elementary where he is in a kindergarten class for children with autism.
“[They were] asking him, 'What did the teacher do when she was upset?'” says Beltran. “He told him that she threw him. She didn’t pull his arm, like, she sent him flying from one side of the room to the other. He did tell them that when the teacher was mad she would hit him in his belly and hit him a lot in his back.”
Beltran says she visited the school the next day and found another teacher had taken over the class. She says an aide admitted to being the one who reported the abuse. Aside from that, Beltran says, officials are not sharing any information.
“I’m upset that I’m not getting answers,” says Beltran. “I’m upset because I don’t know if they’re hurting him. I don’t know who was involved. It’s just hard.”
In an email, a spokesperson for Mesa Public Schools said the teacher is on administrative leave pending the outcomes of a district investigation and a criminal investigation conducted by Mesa police. Mesa police confirmed they are looking into the matter.
Beltran says her son’s emotional scars are now apparent.
“Every day is a constant battle trying to get him to go to school,” says Beltran. “He would cover his head not to be hit, and I’m like, 'What’s going on? Nobody hits you.'”
Beltran says she’s pulling her son from the district, but because he is special needs, her options may be limited.
“What could a child have done so bad for you to hurt them?” says Beltran. “I don’t understand it, and I’m not going to understand it.”
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