TEMPE, Ariz. — A dad in Arizona says he wants a teacher fired and criminally charged for duct-taping his special needs son at school.
“I’ve never heard of this happening,” Destin Howato said. “I think he needs to be arrested. That’s child abuse.”
Howato’s 11-year-old son, Armando, has autism. He is non-verbal and has the mental capacity of a second-grader.
“He’s loving. He’s a loving kid. There’s no reason to have that happen to him,” Howato told KPHO. “He can’t say for himself. He can’t speak up for himself.”
A month ago, Armando started attending ACES East, a special education school in Tempe. Howato said Armando’s teacher recently wrapped his legs in duct tape and the reason given by the school’s administrators is absurd.
“To keep his shoes on, that’s what they told me,” Howato said.
The school released a statement that stated the teacher did duct tape Armando’s shoes to his legs. Armando’s teacher said the boy kicked off his shoes several times.
But wait — here’s the big twist: The boy’s mom said it was okay.
When the teacher called his mother, she gave her permission to use duct tape on the student’s shoes.
The school statement goes on to say the teacher duct-taped his shoes to his legs with part of the tape adhering to his skin.
The ACES school released this statement:
Full ACES School Statement:
“The ACES has received permission from the student’s mother to provide additional information regarding the alleged incident.
On Friday, March 25, 2016, the student was kicking his shoes off repeatedly in the classroom creating an unsafe environment for other students. To facilitate assisting the student with keeping the high top sneakers on his feet, the student’s mother gave the teacher permission to place duct tape on the student’s shoes. Unfortunately, unbeknown to the student’s mother and the school administration, ¼ inch to ½ inch of the tape came into contact with the student’s skin around his ankle. At no time were the student’s legs taped together nor was the student’s movement restricted. The student was not harmed in any way as a result of this incident.
The school has provided full transparency to the student’s parents, the Department of Child Safety and the Tempe police department. The school administration highly regrets the decision made by the staff member and is confident that at no time was the student’s safety or welfare at risk.
It is against school policy to use duct tape on a student, for any reason. The staff member in question has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. After the investigation has been completed, the school will take the appropriate disciplinary action including possible termination. The ACES sincerely regrets that this incident occurred. Safety and respect for all students are our highest priorities.”