Mom of autistic student pulls him out of school after bus incident ‘freaked me out’

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Aiden Fuerte was pulled out of Kellogg Marsh Elementary School in Marysville by his mother after an incident on a school bus. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

MARYSVILLE — Trish Fuerte’s son Aiden was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years-old.  He’s now in the fourth grade at Kellogg Marsh Elementary in Marysville, but has been out of school since mid-December.

“I have not heard him that upset, that fearful ever,” said Fuerte in describing the phone call she got on Dec. 18.

The secretary told Fuerte she needed to come pick her son after they say he was kicked off the school bus.

“When we got home, I noticed his underwear sticking out of his sweatpants.  When I noticed it sticking out, I pulled it up and the way it was ripped freaked me out.  The back is completely torn and ripped all the way down,” said Fuerte.

Aiden’s mom called the school, but said she got no explanation.  Finally the bus driver called her back.

“She said, ‘I felt bad for him and was appalled at the way they were dealing with him,’” said Fuerte.

The driver told Aiden’s mom she saw two staff members roughly shoving Aiden into his seat and struggling to buckle his seat belt.  Since her son can’t tell her what happened, she asked him to draw a picture.

“He drew a little boy with a backpack and sad face and then a large person with very angry mouth and angry eyes,” said Fuerte.

When she asked him who that was, Aiden says it was his teacher.

“He said she was very angry at him and was pulling on him and hurting him,” said Fuerte.

Arzu Forough with the Washington Autism Alliance said that she hears stories like that far too often.

“Anytime we hear about teachers losing their temper, or using inappropriate level of force with a student, we see it stems from not having appropriate training on alternative interventions,” said Forough.

Just recently, Forough got a call from the parents of an autistic kindergartner on the Eastside who kept coming home with bruises.

“The parents were very concerned.  He was getting hurt at school a lot.  He eventually had a broken arm and there was no explanation about how it had happened,” said Forough.

Trish Fuerte has pulled her son out of school and hired an attorney after what happened to him.

“They’re not training their people right because my 9-year-old kid with autism, if he’s having a hard day, they need to know how to de-escalate that, how to figure that out.  It’s not his fault,” said Fuerte.

Asked for a reaction to this report, the Marysville School District said Thursday they have put Aiden’s teacher and para-educator on administrative leave while they investigate.  At the same time, the co-directors of district’s Special Education Services resigned and have been replaced.  The district spokesman said the district hopes this new change in leadership will be a positive step forward.

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  • TRC

    Over the years I have seen this behavior, bad attitude, negative force from teachers and para eds. I remember when I was driving thinking if I treated a child like that I would be fired. This should not be a surprise. I remember years ago a down syndrome little girl, she was clearly having a tantrum and did not want to get up. I arrived to pick her up to take her swimming, the para ed was pulling and yanking and yelling when I arrived. I got of the bus went over, all I asked her was **** do you want to go swimming, she said yes, then I replied well as soon as you get on the bus then we can go swimming. She got up got on the bus and fastened her seatbelt. I did not say anything to the EA I climbed into my seat and we went swimming. I have often wonder who hires these EA and teachers, the way the treat our special ed students is disgraceful. More investigation needs to be done at more than just Marysville.

  • TRC

    By the way there are more good teachers out there, most of the abuse and negative force is with the EA's that I have witnessed. In 99% of the bus interaction a driver never sees a teacher they are EA's bring the students to the buses.

  • Karen Newburn

    I am having problems with my 11yr old autistic grandaughters school. She was recently expelled for the day. According to the para educator my grandaughter had a complete meltdown cry ing yet according to the principal she pulled other students hair and according to the spec ed manager who was not there she was informed my grandaughter was cussing. I called the washington state ombudsmans office. Wish I knew how to get an attorney.

  • PdOffAunt

    This is messed up, my cousins Son Julian goes to the same school and also diagnosed with Autism and he came home from school with hand marks on his shirt like he was grabbed with force, it makes me mad to know that staff treat the Chldren like this, they are suppose to be trained to know how to take care our children not man handle them and especially to this extent,

  • mouseker

    We can't paint all teachers with the same brush some (yes at Kellog Marsh) are really great. My son also has Autism also went to KM for four years and the only injuries he got were from other kids.

    However we do need more training!! I got to see what good training looked like when my son went to the Pingree School for Autistic Children in Utah and Marysville has a lot of work to do. With the passing of both levies and the judgement against WA state for underfunding schools hopefully more funds will be available for this crucial area of training special education personnel. And with the change in leadership hopefully they will make this a priority.

  • danielle atwood

    This school is worthless and thier Autism program, we have had nothing but problems with this school. My husband actually recorded a para dragging a child by his shirt across the fenced in playground and got out of the car and told her to stop we than went to the principle with the video and this was under investigation. The teachers and helpers have no formal training we since pulled our son and moved to lake stevens school district, 180 degree change in my son’s abilities and overall demeanor he is so much happier. This school needs new training and to be held accountable.

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