A mother has accused her 5-year-old son’s kindergarten teacher of bullying the boy and calling him a loser.
Kandy Escotto said she placed a recording device in her son Aaron’s bag after he repeatedly came back from class at Banyan Elementary School in Miami, Fla., making concerning remarks.
“He was behaving super weird,” Escotto told Local10 News. “He didn’t want to go to school. He would cry when he knew he needed to go to school.”
He also reportedly told her at one point that he was a “bad boy” while she was helping him with his homework, and when she asked him why he said that, he replied: “That’s what my teacher tells me when I do my work.”
When her complaints to school officials about teacher Rosalba Suarez allegedly fell on deaf ears, Escotto placed a recording device in Aaron’s backpack in October and recorded four days of his classes.
In one recording, obtained by Local10, Suarez, who won Teacher of the Year for the school last year and has been with the district since 1985, can allegedly be heard saying: “Aaron, y tu losers.”
In another instance, she can be heard making fun of the child for not knowing how to bubble in answers.
And in another one, she can be heard making fun of Escotto herself.
“You still don’t know how to write? I don’t know what to say to your mom. She is driving me crazy. Why is she driving me crazy?
“I feel sorry for your mom. I really do. She is a little lost.”
Escotto claims after hearing the recordings she approached the school at least five times, including speaking to both the principal and assistant principal. She also said she spoke with Suarez herself.
“She was very arrogant," Escotto said of Suarez. "She said she didn’t like Aaron’s behavior. I don’t understand why.”
Aaron has since been moved to another class, where his grades have improved, but Escotto wants the school to remove Suarez from the classroom altogether and has hired an attorney, Sonia Roca.
Roca called the incidents an “intentional infliction of emotional distress” and contends that the recordings are legal because they were in a public school classroom with other children and people and therefore no expectation of privacy.
In Florida, it is illegal to record someone without their consent.
Miami-Dade County school district has opened an investigation into the alleged incidents.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools goes to great lengths to promote a culture of dignity and respect, not only among our students but with our employees,” spokeswoman Jackie Calzadilla told the Miami Herald.
“We work diligently to ensure the well-being of every child entrusted to our care. Any action that runs contrary to the values we instill in our school community will not be tolerated.
“The district will conduct a thorough review of this matter and, if the allegations are substantiated, we will take any and all appropriate disciplinary actions.”