WARREN - The mother of a 7-year-old autistic boy who reported being assaulted by another student on Friday said she feels she has no choice but to consider moving her son from his current school, and possibly pull him out of the city school district altogether.
"I can't allow him to continue to be subjected to this," said Vanessa White. "I don't know what else do to. It's hard to know what to do with just 30 days left in the school year. He doesn't want to go back to school. He's afraid to. No 7-year-old should be afraid to go to school."
White said a teacher notified her Friday afternoon that "there had been an incident, but that it was being handled."
Tribune Chronicle photos / R. Michael Semple
Vanessa White of Warren, holds her 7-year-old autistic son, Saun Miller, who she said was assaulted by another student at school.
White said that when her son, Saun Miller, came home from school, she realized he needed medical attention. She immediately took him to a local emergency room where he was treated and released.
White contacted city police, who advised her to contact Trumbull County Family Court to file charges against the other student. According to a city police report, White's son, who attends Warren's Jefferson K-8 building, said he was walking to the school bus when another boy approached him from behind. White's son said he tried to run away but the other boy chased him, pushed him in the chest causing him to fall to the ground, punched him in the left eye five times and kicked him in the right hip before a teacher intervened.
According to the police report, the victim had swelling, redness and bruising on his left eye, and White told police her son's right hip was bruised.
"I'm at a loss," White said. "He can't keep going through this. It's bad enough when a child is picked on. But this goes beyond that. This is assault."
White said although her family lives in the Lincoln K-8 area of the school district, her son attends Jefferson because of the special needs programs that site provides. She explained that he rides a special bus to and from school each day and a teacher is responsible for walking him to the bus every afternoon.
"There have been at least 15 incidents like this this year," she said. "Some have been pretty serious, but this was the worst. He's been punched in the throat, punched in the head. Sometimes it's a group of kids, but the past several times it's been this same boy. He just won't leave my son alone, and nothing gets done to stop it."
White said she tried calling the school and the superintendent's office, but as of Monday hadn't hurt anything from district officials.
Aaron Schwab, Warren's communications coordinator, remarked in an email to the Tribune Chronicle that the incident is being looked into and the district has been in contact with White. His comment continued "that the District takes all reports of violence VERY seriously and all students found to be involved with causing harm to or harassing another student will be punished."
White said she intends to file charges through Trumbull County Family Court once she has the money to do so.
"These kids need to be taught they don't have a right to hurt anyone and no one has a right to hurt you," White said. "You can't help how God made you. My son can't help it that he's autistic and that's no reason to keep bullying him. Someone has to stand up for these kids and say this isn't right. This can't keep happening over and over again. Something has to be done."