Parents accuse 2 Cumberland school employees of assaulting child with autism

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cumberland County Schools are investigating allegations that two employees assaulted an 11-year-old boy with autism.

According to the child's parents, the incident happened Tuesday at Mary McArthur Elementary School when they were asked to come to get their 11-year-old son, Tyler James Mercier.

Tyler has high-functioning autism, however; when triggered, he could have an emotional meltdown.

When Tyler's parents went to pick up their son, they said they were told that two employees, a teacher assistant, and a Behavior Support Specialist, restrained him after he had an emotional meltdown and started kicking the whiteboard.

The boy's parents posted photos of their son's injuries to Facebook. In the photos, Tyler's back appeared bruised and bloodied as a result of the "restraint."

"That's not a restraint; my son was assaulted," said Joseph Glegola.

"As always, our top priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. Although we are unable to address the details of the investigation due to student privacy and personnel laws, all allegations are being thoroughly investigated, and the district will respond appropriately," Cumberland County Schools said in a statement.

Tyler was never suspended nor punished by the school; however, his parents said he won't be returning until the two employees have been disciplined.

"If I would have sent my son to school like that we wouldn't be having this conversation. I would be in Cumberland County jail right now. So what's good for the goose is good for the gander," Glegola said.
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