This story is from 2018.
Florida mom Kandy Escotto put a tape recorder in her son Aaron’s backpack during his first year of kindergarten.
Aaron had begun complaining about school, and saying that he didn’t want to attend his class anymore. His grades had dropped.
His mother had already spoken to Cheri Davis about her concern that Aaron was being bullied; Chari Davis was, at that time, the principal of Banyan Elementary in the Miami-Dade school district. But Ms. Davis told Ms. Escotto that she needed proof to substantiate her claim before anything could be investigated.
So Ms. Escotto sent Aaron to school with his backpack wired for sound.
What resulted was every loving parent’s nightmare: her son was indeed being bullied, but not by the other children. He was being bullied by his teacher.
His teacher was identified by The Miami Herald as being Rosalba Suarez, an educator at Banyan since 1985 who won the Teacher of the Year Award in 2017. In the recordings, Ms. Suarez can be heard calling Aaron a “loser,” in front of his entire class for not knowing how to fill out bubbles on a test form, and insulting his mother.
That’s right: a teacher bullied a five-year-old in front of his class by saying nasty things about his mother. “I feel sorry for your mom,” Suarez told little Aaron. “I really do. She’s a little lost.”
Of course, for anyone to taunt a child is pathetic and horrible; but a teacher, especially so. Ms. Escotto recorded 32 hours of classroom audio over a four-day period last October, making sure she would have enough evidence of the teacher’s verbal and psychological abuse of her son to satisfy the uncooperative Principal Davis.
There were at least four instances of Ms. Suarez ridiculing and taunting Aaron during the four-day period in question. At one point in the recording, poor Aaron becomes so upset that he no longer wants to participate in the class at all.
“I don’t care, don’t do it,” his teacher can be heard saying in response to his distress. “You think I care? Whatever your mom wants to see, honey. Whatever your mom wants to see, you tell me what she wants to see, a nice job or she wants to see a loser’s job?”
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools goes to great lengths to promote a culture of dignity and respect, not only among our students but with our employees,” spokeswoman Jackie Calzadilla said. “We work diligently to ensure the well-being of every child entrusted to our care. Any action that runs contrary to the values we instill in our school community will not be tolerated. The district will conduct a thorough review of this matter and, if the claims are substantiated, we will take any and all appropriate disciplinary actions.”
Ms. Escotto was finally able to have poor Aaron transferred to another class. Ms. Suarez’s name still appears as a faculty member on the school’s website today, though her role at the school is unclear at this time.