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Davis County mother says charter school staff member made derogatory comments about autistic son

Posted at 3:32 PM, Nov 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-27 17:39:24-05

SYRACUSE, Utah — A Utah mother wants a charter school staff member to be fired after overhearing them say derogatory comments about her autistic child.

Liz Fischer says she overheard a staff member at Syracuse Arts Academy say a disparaging comment about her 7-year-old son who has autism. She was volunteering at the public charter school when her second grader was excused early for a special education class.

“This class leaves and the staff member says to the other mom, ‘I am so sick of kids like that. Like the boy who just got pulled out to go to a special ed class. All they do is interrupt and disrupt the class. I swear there is one in every class,'” Fischer said. “That hurt me so bad to hear that.”

Fischer confronted the staff member, who does not directly teach her child, and also reported the incident to charter school administration.

“I’m glad he was not there to hear that because it would have broken his heart. It broke mine to hear that my son and every other child who has to leave the class to go to a special ed class is a disruption or distraction to other students,” she said.

Charter school administration says the incident was investigated and corrective action was taken immediately.

“Our students with special needs are an integral part of our student body and we do not tolerate any discrimination against them or any other student,” they said in a statement.

Fischer says the discipline is not enough and she would like to see the staff member lose her job.

The incident comes weeks after another autistic child in Davis County, 10-year-old Izzy Tichenor, died by suicide after being racially bullied at Foxboro Elementary in North Salt Lake.

“After what happened to Izzy, I mean, disgusting. It's disgusting that people like this are still working with children,” Fischer said.

READ: More bullying accusations emerge at school Izzy Tichenor attended

While Syracuse Arts Academy is in Davis County, it is not part of the Davis School District, which Foxboro Elementary is part of.