58ºF

Chicago family files lawsuit accusing school of abuse

CHICAGO, Ill. – A family is suing a suburban Chicago school district, claiming abuse of their autistic 8-year-old son.

They claim he came home with permanent marker all over his back and that he was tied to a chair with an exercise band.

“I’m at the point where I do not even want to send him to school anymore,” said Lucia Roden, Gianni’s mother.

Speaking out about years of alleged abuse and neglect that she says her 8-year-old son with autism has endured at prairie oak elementary school.

“I gain their trust, then something happens again," said Lucia.

The Roden family filed a lawsuit against Berwyns North School District 98 after they say Gianni Fata Roden came home covered in permanent marker.

“I’m disgusted," said Lucia.

The black markings scribbled all over the child’s back.

Gianni has limited verbal skills. He is not able to tell his mom what happened.

“I turned and I looked at him, he had a huge meltdown,” said Lucia.

This is not the first incident on record at Prairie Oak.

Back in 2015, Lucia filed a police report with the Berwyn p.d. after she says a teacher’s aide tied her son to a chair with an exercise band.

“So he can start to learn to sit down in a chair properly and to keep him confined,” said Lucia.

Last year, the family says the school lost Gianni.

A teacher called to alert them, then later found the child on another floor of the building.

The family’s attorney says the pattern is disturbing.

“I do not believe the staff has the proper qualifications to take care of a child like Gianni," said John Chwarzynski, family attorney.

A local CNN affiliate reached out to District 98 and the superintendent says she did not know where the markings came from.

A statement said in part:

“Thus far, our video footage from the school bus and from the hallway cameras has not revealed anything that would cause us to take remedial action concerning any of our employees.”

“With the autism, we want to make sure he is safe and that he does not get hurt," said Steven Roden, Gianni’s dad.

The school district did not comment on the allegation the boy was restrained with an exercise band.

Meanwhile, the family says it’s looking for a new school for Gianni.