Cherry Hill Teacher Denies Bullying Autistic Boy [VIDEO]
The teacher at the center of the controversy over the bullying of an autistic Cherry Hill boy denies it is her voice heard on classroom audio recorded by the boy’s father via a wire.
During an appearance by Stuart Chaifetz on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Cooper reads a statement by Kelly Altenberg’s attorney Joan E. Young denying her involved in the incident.
Kelly Altenberg is a special education teacher who, over the past 23 years, has dedicated herself to teaching and consulting in the field of special education. Mrs. Altenberg does not condone any such remarks and this language was not used at her direction, in her presence or with her knowledge. Mr. Chaifetz’s remarks to the contrary are totally inaccurate.
Chaifetz says the audio speaks for itself challenged her denial and offered to play the entire 6 hour audio recording for anyone who asks. “That was her laughing. She wants to claim she wasn’t the one there…that’s laughable. I wish she had some integrity and just apologize. But if she wants to go on the attack that’s fine. I’m not a 10 year old boy who can’t defend himself.”
Chaifetz put a wire on his autistic 10 year old son Aiken after his normally calm behavior turned violent. The recording revealed teachers and aides bullying Aiken and discussing inappropriate subject matter in class. When Cherry Hill school officials did not meet Stuart’s demand that the teachers and aides involved be fired he went public with the recordings via a Facebook page and website.
Cherry Hill’s school superintendent said 3 teachers and aides were fired but Chaifetz offered proof in Board Of Education meeting minutes that Altenberg was transferred to a position at Cherry Hill High School West.
GETTING THEIR STORY STRAIGHT
The New Jersey Education Association and Cherry Hill school officials, meanwhile, are offering different statements as to Altenberg’s status. The district, which first said their investigation into the February 17 incident was closed, now calls the investigation “ongoing” according to the Courier -Post. ““While we cannot legally comment specifically on personnel matters, the district does not consider the matter closed at this time,” said a statement from Superintendent Maureen Reusche and school board president Seth Klukoff.
The NJEA, however, is using the district’s earlier statement to show that Altenberg “basically was exonerated” from being involved.
In a later interview with the Courier-Post, Wollmer noted Reusche has said the employees heard on Chaifetz’s recording are no longer with the district.
“Kelly Altenburg is still working with the district, so by implication she did not say those things,” said Wollmer. “She appears to have been exonerated from making those comments.”
The district has declined to identify workers involved in the Feb. 17 incident.