Rockdale County

Mother says son with autism was assaulted by paraprofessional at Rockdale elementary school

ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. — The mother of a 9-year-old non-verbal boy with autism says he was viciously assaulted by a male paraprofessional at Pine Street Elementary School in Rockdale County.

“He was choked up, taken into the bathroom for two and a half minutes and he was screaming in the bathroom,” Yemaya Lyles told Channel 2′s Tom Regan.

Lyles said school officials didn’t tell her about the alleged incident until three days later.

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“On Nov. 13th, I was notified by the principal of Pine Street Elementary that my son was physically and verbally redirected,” Lyles said.

The mother says what happened to her son Antonio was more than a redirection.

She said she watched video recorded inside the classroom which showed how the alleged incident unfolded.

“The guy, by the sound of it, was abusing him in the restroom. And also came out of the classroom and hit him, struck him as well. He picked him off his feet, choked him off his feet,” Lyles said.

Lyles said she took her son to an urgent care for treatment.

She said he is still suffering physically and emotionally from what happened.

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“He has not been back to school. We stay minutes from the school and he flips out every time we ride by. I don’t want to send him back to public school because he’s terrified and I’m terrified,” she said.

Lyles has hired a lawyer, who said she has sent a demand letter to the Rockdale County School District.

“We would like to give the school board a chance to meet our demands before we file a lawsuit. We would like the school board to pay for her son’s private school education. We would also like the video released showing what happened to her son. We would also like to know what policies would be implemented to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other children,” Attorney Kianna Chennault said.

The demand letter also seeks $5 million in damage for pain and suffering.

The paraprofessional involved has since been fired.

Channel 2 Action News could not confirm the attorney’s statement that the former employee was arrested on battery charges.

The Rockdale County School District released a statement, saying:

“We do not distribute classroom footage due to student privacy and confidentiality laws ((O.C.G.A. §§ 50-18-72(a)(1) and 50-18-72(a)(37)). Rockdale County Public Schools expects all employees to conduct themselves professionally and ethically in providing a positive teaching and learning environment for students and staff. We support our law enforcement partners who investigate these matters and bring charges to anyone who allegedly harms a child. We will adhere to personnel and student privacy laws in this matter which do not allow us to comment further at this time.”

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