Indiana Mother files abuse report, son ‘misplaced’

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A mother claims a special needs assistant at a Vigo County school went too far in the handling of her autistic son.

CJ Hammond has trouble focusing and communicating but his mother says despite his challenges, he should be treated like any other seven-year-old.

“My goal for him is to have as close as a normal life as possible and to have the best education he can get, and it has been such a struggle,” said Jamie Hammond.

She was shocked when she received a call last Thursday from the principal at Deming Elementary regarding her son.

“She had told me, under her terms, that she had “misplaced” my son,” said Hammond.

How long CJ was “misplaced” is unknown but Hammond is more concerned about what she believes happened after he was found asleep.

“The aide found him, she yanked him off of the bean bag chair, and when the little girl had told her she should not treat him that way, she told the little girl she could do with him as she wished,” said Hammond.

A form of discipline that she says went too far.

“I noticed that when he had gotten home that night, when I was giving him his bath, that he had a thumb shaped bruise on his bicep and it was almost black in color.”

Vigo County School Corporation Superintendent, Danny Tanoos said in a statement:

“We take all allegations of abuse seriously. Our internal investigation has been completed. We are fully cooperating with the Terre Haute Police Department and Child Protective Services during their investigation. If we had reason to believe this happened, the employee would be suspended.  Based on what we have heard from THPD and CPS, the findings do not warrant the suspension of the employee.”

“We take child abuse cases very seriously, and those cases are going to be investigated as far as we can take them,” added Assistant Chief Shawn Keen, Terre Haute Police Department.

CJ is now being home schooled.

“Her whole purpose of her being there was to be his aid and to be with him at all times, and when she is still there I cannot send him there or feel confident that he is getting the proper care,” said Hammond.

On April 7 Hammond filed a police report alleging child abuse and plans to follow through with a lawsuit.

“How many other little kids that doesn’t have a voice to speak out about it, that can’t say something. Its things like this that has to get stopped.”

We are not naming the special needs assistant because that person has not been charged.

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