Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Atlanta school officials still waiting for "immediate action" in case of boy with autism who may have been beaten

From WXIA-TV in Atlanta. You can see pictures and read the background of the case here.

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The deadline came and went. Atlanta Public Schools (APS) waited four days for a response in an autism abuse case. Instead they received a statement that didn't tell them much of anything. School officials made their demand after seeing our story about Stefan Ferrari, (pictured) an 11-year-old boy with autism who is non verbal.

A judge ruled Stefan was abused at his school which is run by the state agency Metro RESA. Atlanta school officials, who sent Stefan there, demanded immediate action in the case, setting Friday as a deadline. But at 3 p.m. on May 22, all they received was a statement 11Alive had already seen.

In her statement sent to Doctor Beverly Hall via email, Metro RESA executive director Doctor Fran Perkins says that on the advice of MRESA'S attorney they would only prove APS "the same statement given to 11Alive News." That statement says "They take very seriously the allegation of misconduct by personnel towards any student."

Perkins says "We are addressing personnel matters within the parameters of Georgia Law. Therefore we are unable to discuss these matters."

One hour later, Dr. Hall fired back this email to Perkins saying, "I need your assurance that the teacher in question, is not and will not be interacting with any APS students."

In their May 19 request Atlanta Public School Officials also asked for a plan of what Metro RESA was doing to make sure this doesn't happen to another student. Because there was no mention of that, Dr. Hall also writes in the e-mail "We are assigning a staff person to ensure the appropriateness of the services and learning environment for our students at North Metro."

Gov.Sonny Perdue told 11Alive two days ago he was going to look at the case. His spokesperson Bert Brantley tells 11Alive that Governor Perdue read the ruling, has heard the audio and feels the ruling was appropriate and reasonable and he has asked Georgia's Child Advocate Judge Tom Rawlins to look into how this case was initially handled.