Mother Accuses Stanislaus Teachers of Abusing Autistic Son

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A Riverbank mother is accusing teachers at Stanislaus Elementary School of abusing her autistic son.

"It’s not right that a child that has no ability to understand, to know that he’s hurting anyone or himself was sat on top of by three people,” Juliana Ilacqua told FOX40 on Wednesday.

A picture FOX40 obtained shows a boy being held down by three adults.

It’s a move that Stanislaus County educators call textbook -- Ilacqua argued otherwise.

"Never had to put my son in that kind of hold. I never would, it’s degrading,” Ilacqua said.

Ilacqua explained that her 9-year-old son is autistic and has no safety awareness. She claimed she made a surprise visit to her son's school, Stanislaus Elementary, and took a picture of what she believes is abuse.

She took pictures of abrasions on the boy’s back and elbows.

"All of our teachers and staff are trained. They keep safety of our students first and foremost,” Sarah Grantano, the assistant superintendent with Special Education and Health Services of SCOE said.

Grantano said their teachers followed protocol when placing the student in this kind of restraint.

"It’s really important for us to keep more people involved in the containment so that it is done safe and appropriately," she said.

The Riverbank mother said the office of education was supposed to hire a personal aide for her son. She told FOX40, the aide's salary is federally funded. That move was approved late last year.

She claimed her son never got the aide.

"We usually have them sooner than that or have a substitute in place to help accommodate the needs of the students with one-to-ones,” Grantano said.

Ilacqua is frustrated and has removed her son from the classroom fearing for his safety.

"This is never appropriate. It’s not OK,” Ilacqua said.

She also claimed that last week her child, who she admits is a flight risk, somehow wandered off campus, climbed fences, and ended up in an irrigation ditch near Kiernan and Carver in Modesto, “and was waste deep in the water playing. So at any given time that’s extremely dangerous,” Ilacqua explained.

"If he had a one-on-one he never would have gotten off campus, he would not be combative, he would not be doing the things that he is doing,” she said.

A mother, wanting answers and hoping that her son will be treated with respect.

"No justification for that. Nowhere is it legal for three people to spread a child on the floor like that on his face," Ilacqua said.

Ilacqua's lawyer said that they're waiting for the office of education to prove that they have hired a one-to-one aide, then they'll decide how to move forward from there.