Monday, February 21, 2011

Texas autistic boy says he was bullied and sexually assaulted by classmates


CEDAR PARK, Texas -- Stay-at-home mom Elizabeth Loe said her 10-year-old autistic son was bullied for years and was sexually assaulted by some of his classmates at C.C. Mason Elementary School in Cedar Park.

She said her son was touched by four classmates several times during the past year in school bathrooms and the cafeteria.

The boy suffers from Asperger's syndrome and other developmental disorders. He is going blind in his left eye.

"I think because he is [a student in] Special Ed[ucation], he was an easy target," said Loe.

Loe pulled her son out of the elementary school in December.

"It started with kids calling him names. It progressed into kids hitting him, touching him," Loe added.

Loe said her son started acting strange and she noticed a shift in his attitude.

"He was sitting in his room shredding a pair of his clean underwear with his hands," Loe explained.

She said he also tried to negotiate deals with her to stay home from school.

"He would say things like, 'Mommy, I will smile all day tomorrow if you will let me stay home from school,'" Loe said.

Loe said after she picked up her son from school on Dec. 15, she decided to ask him what was wrong. They were on their way to a speech pathology appointment when the boy claimed he was sexually assaulted.

"'Is anyone touching you in your private areas?' [I asked.] That is what he calls that area. And, in a very matter of fact way he said, 'Yes,'" Loe recalled of the conversation with her son.

Loe claimed four classmates followed her son into the bathroom, pulled him out of the stall with his pants down and threatened to hurt him if he didn't touch his privates in front of them.

"One boy even touched him and told him he would show him how to do it," Loe said while choking back tears.

Loe called the school and the police.

Her son's therapist got the same story from the boy and submitted a statement to police and principal.

The school sent her a letter that stated staff was investigating.

Officials would not tell Loe how the kids were punished, stating school code prohibits giving out that information. All four boys are back in school.

"I feel like I have been dismissed," Loe added.

Charges have not been filed against the four boys, either.

"We definitely acknowledge that the child was subject to intimidation, inappropriate behavior and bullying, but that behavior did not rise to the level to substantiate the indecency allegation [or a crime]," Capt. Jeffrey Hayes with the Cedar Park Police Department told Hill Country News.

Loe believes it is her son who is being punished. He hasn't been to school in almost two months. She fears if school district officials do not meet with her to discuss transferring her son to a different elementary school he will have to repeat the fourth grade.

The school said it has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying.

Loe wants to know why they have not acted on this policy and expelled the students

Calls to the school were not immediately returned for comment.

The police investigation into this case is now on inactive status and will only be reopened if more evidence is discovered.