Student: School assistant injured my arm

DCF investigating possible child abuse by OCPS program assistant

APOPKA, Fla. - The Department of Children and Families is investigating whether an Orange County Public Schools program assistant was too aggressive in handling a special needs student.

Brandon Boen said the adult grabbed his arms behind his back in a position he called prisoner style and lifted him from a kneeling position by his arms. He said he was visibly hurt and crying.

Shane and Michael Boen said their son complained his arm hurt, but they did not know why until the school's principal called them a full day after the June 4 incident. That's when they took their son to the hospital and discovered the second grader at Lakeville Elementary School in Apopka suffered a strained shoulder, according to a medical record supplied by his parents.

"He said, 'Somebody tried to break my arm,'" said Shane. "If your child is hurt, especially by a teacher, the parents should be notified immediately."

The family is upset they were not immediately notified about the incident by school officials. Shane said the principal told them a program assistant in the special needs class had an incident with her son, that her son was injured, and that the school had notified the Department of Children and Families.

The law allows specially-trained teachers to restrain misbehaving students in positions, referred to as "holds," that are documented by the school and state, but the Boens have had no indication that Brandon was injured in a hold.

They're worried how many other students have been restrained -- or injured -- without parents knowing exactly what happened.

"I refuse to believe that he's the only one that this has happened to," said Shane.

The Boens said it remains a mystery to them why Brandon was touched in the first place. His behavior report for that day showed no problems.

Just minutes after giving a statement to Apopka police about the incident, the Boens told Local 6 they want the woman who they said injured their child to be fired and for district policies about holds to change.

An OCPS spokesperson couldn't comment about the case.

DCF has opened an investigation into the incident and has also been in communication with Apopka police.

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