Kandy Escotto said her 5-year-old son didn’t want to do his homework. His grades were bad. And he cried when it was time to go to school. She said his behavior changed this past fall and suspected the award-winning teacher was the cause, according to the Miami Herald.
Escotto said she told school officials multiple times that her son complained about how kindergarten teacher Rosalba G. Suarez mistreated him, once calling him “bad boy” when he didn’t do his work. Administrators at Banyan Elementary School said nothing could be done without proof, Escotto’s attorney, Raphael Lopez, told The Washington Post. That’s when Escotto placed a recording device in her son’s backpack, according to ABC affiliate Local10.
Escotto recorded the classroom for 32 hours and 4 days, according to CBS News, and captured the teacher berating Aaron in front of his classmates, once telling another boy that “Aaron y tu loser.”
“Raise your hand if you know how to bubble.… Aaron doesn’t know,” Suarez said, according to a transcript of the recording from Escotto’s attorney.
She also criticized the child’s mother.
“I feel sorry for your mom,” Suarez said. “I really do. She is a little lost.”
Escotto told the Miami Herald that the teacher singled out her son and humiliated him in front of the class.
“No 5-year-old should be able to go through that. That affected my family, affected him,” she said.
Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, told The Post that the school district was made aware of the recordings last week when stories were published by local media and has opened an investigation.
She said that Suarez has not received a complaint during her 33-year tenure and is “very highly regarded by teachers, parents and peers” and was named a “teacher of the year” by the school this year.
On Friday, Gonzalez-Diego told The Post the teacher would be placed in an alternate assignment “away from the school setting” when classes resume in August “in accordance with District procedures.”
Suarez could not be immediately reached for comment.
Florida is a two-party-consent state — both parties need to know they are being recorded. But Lopez said this statute is void when a person does not have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” A public school classroom, Lopez argues, is not a space where one can reasonably expect privacy.
Escotto wants the teacher to resign because of how she might treat other students, Lopez said.
At Escotto’s request, Aaron was transferred to another classroom in January.
“I didn’t want him to keep suffering,” she told the Miami Herald. “He went from having F’s to having excellent grades.”
This story has been updated.
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