Father protests school's treatment of son
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- A Hollywood man took a Broward County school to task over the alleged mistreatment of his special needs child.
Ronald Vasquez accused the administrative staff of Stirling Elementary School of withholding vital information about how a teacher treated his 10-year-old son Danny. According to the concerned parent, the alleged mistreatment, which involved irregular use of special needs equipment, can be traced all the way to April.
On April 4, Vasquez received a phone call from the school. He was informed that Vivia Bromfield, Danny's teacher, had placed the student on a Rifton chair, which is commonly used by special needs instructors to accommodate autistic children who need physical stability.
"Number one, he wasn't supposed to be sitting there in the first place," said Vasquez. Even though he admitted that Danny's condition falls within the autism spectrum, Vasquez observed that his son's symptoms otherwise defy easy categorization. "He doesn't really suffer from mental retardation, he doesn't really have cerebral palsy, he just falls into that category where they just don't know," Vasquez said.
"Number two," Vasquez adds, "he was left there too long." According to the school district's official complaint against Bromfield, the Rifton chair's use is "not to exceed 15 minutes." Back in April, the complaint continues, Bromfield allegedly "belted Danny into a second Rifton chair" a few minutes after 11 a.m. and left him there "until after 1 p.m."
"I was just shocked. I couldn't believe it," Vasquez recalls. This is one of several charges in the school district's complaint. Earlier in the year, the teacher allegedly left two students in their standers, another piece of special needs equipment, for over 70 minutes.
The complaint also reveals that Bromfield had been given verbal and written notice that her negligent practices were unacceptable. "I just want everybody to do their job and do it right," said Vasquez.
Broward County Schools Superintendent has recommended Bromfield's dismissal, but Vasquez wants to know why, since April, no one from the school has told him anything. He didn't know about the superintendent's recommendation until he was informed of it by 7News.
"What's the deal? Is that how we work now? 'We just don't tell the parents anything?'," Vazquez said. Especially, he indicated, when it comes to caring for students like Danny, who cannot speak for themselves.
Phone calls to Bromfield were not returned. The teacher has until January to appeal her termination.
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