When a child resists the idea of going to school, it’s a red flag for parents. What’s keeping them from wanting to go to school — is it a bullying issue? Since her five-year-old son wouldn’t tell her, she decided to do a little information gathering of her own, putting a tape recorder in his backpack to see if she could better understand.
She never could have expected what would be recorded. It wasn’t another student that was bullying her son — it was the teacher.
Kandy Escotto, a concerned Miami, Florida mom had noticed that her son, Aaron, was unhappy just a few weeks after he started kindergarten at Banyan Elementary School.
Kandy told Local 10 News: “He was behaving super weird. He didn’t want to go to school. He would cry when he knew he needed to go to school.”
She was very distressed when, while they were doing homework together, Aaron called himself a “bad boy.”
Kandy asked why he would say that and was surprised by his answer. Aaron told her: “That’s what my teacher tells me when I do my work.”
She first complained to the school about the teacher, Rosalba Suarez, but there were no changes made. Kandy was especially upset by hearing that Rosalba had won the school’s Teacher of the Year award last year.
That’s when she put the recorder in her son’s backpack, taping four days of classes in October, and catching the teacher calling her son a “loser,” saying, “Aaron, y tu is a losers.”
The teacher was also heard saying: “Whatever your mom wants to see, honey, whatever your mom wants to see, you tell me what she wants to see a nice job or she wants to see a loser’s job.”
The teacher was also heard mentioning Kandy, saying, “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.”
Kandy listened to the tapes and “finally understood” the reason for her son’s behavior.
“She picked him out, she singled him out, she humiliated him in front of the whole class,” Kandy explained, adding, “She talked about me in front of him. No five-year-old should be able to go through that. That affected my family, affected him.”
She even confronted the school with the information from the recordings and spoke with the teacher, who she said was “very arrogant” about the matter. “She said she didn’t like Aaron’s behavior. I don’t understand why,” Kandy noted.
Aaron was moved to a new class, which made all the difference, Kandy said, adding, “He went to honor roll. His grades changed and he’s happy now.”
While her son is in a better place now, Kandy is still very upset with how the first teacher addressed her son and has hired a team of lawyers who say the teacher caused “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
The Miami-Dade Public Schools board notes that it will “conduct a thorough review” of the matter.
Kandy’s lawyer, Raphael Lopez, noted, however: “When you have a recording, and it’s clear that this teacher is berating and abusing and calling a five-year-old kindergartner a loser, (there’s) not much investigating to do.”