Family Upset Over Alleged Mistreatment of Son with Autism and ADHD at New Jersey School

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Written By Angela Angela






A family in New Jersey is upset because they believe their son was mistreated by staff at his school. Zaire Smith, who is 11 years old and has autism and ADHD, was shown in a video being held down on the ground for more than 13 minutes. His mother, Nica Smith, said it was hard to watch her son in that situation, as he looked hurt and upset.

According to Zaire’s family, when he became upset, he was taken to a separate room at Mount Carmel Guild Academy in West Orange, where a staff member’s actions made things worse for him. In the video, Zaire can be heard saying he couldn’t breathe because someone was holding his hands behind his back and pushing his face down.

The incident occurred in April, but when PIX11 News tried to contact the school for a response, they did not reply. The school’s website states that it has been educating disabled children for more than 51 years.

Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, a psychologist who watched the video, suggested that the situation could have been handled better. He emphasized the importance of treating upset children with care and not responding with aggression.

Zaire’s family is planning to sue the school, and they have met with representatives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. Nica Smith believes that the staff could have used words to calm her son down instead of resorting to physical actions that led to his injuries.

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