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2 Investigators: Hearing-Impaired Student Bullied At School

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Jason Padilla, a third-grader, says he has been repeatedly bullied at a Chicago public school. (CBS)

Jason Padilla, a third-grader, says he has been repeatedly bullied at a Chicago public school. (CBS)

Dave Savini Dave Savini
Award-winning Chicago journalist Dave Savini serves as investigative...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A young boy says first he was bullied by some classmates and then a teacher allegedly joined in.

2 Investigator Dave Savini looks at how the school handled the bullying complaint and how the so-called solution made going to school even harder.

Nine-year Jason Padilla has trouble communicating because he lost his ability to hear at birth.

But he can come up with a few words to describe his situation: “Not happy; bad people.”

Padilla, who has limited speaking abilities, communicates with the help of a hearing device called a cochlear implant.

The third-grader attends Alexander Graham Bell School in Chicago, where he says he’s been repeatedly hit and verbally abused by students. One even allegedly threatened him using sign language.

Earlier this year while at recess, Padilla says a boy hit him and tore his cochlear implant from his ear and head.

His mother, Christina Maldonado Padilla, says it was an act of both physical and emotional aggression.

“I think he’s fed up with it,” she says.

Christina says the alleged bully threw her son’s $45,000 cochlear implant somewhere on the playground and then the school sent Jason Padilla home without it. In fact, he didn’t get it back until the next day. His mother says it was broken from sitting in the rain.

“When we put it back together it was wet, so it was not working,” she says. “Jason was deaf for three days.”

Christina says school officials never called to tell her about the incident and she didn’t find out about it until he got off the school bus without his implant.

She says the alleged bully was only suspended from recess for a few days. Meanwhile, Jason Padilla no longer wants to go to school.

His mother called their alderman, and that’s when she believes her son’s third-grade teacher retaliated, allegedly flicking her finger at his implant, causing swelling to his ear and head.

“He’s very afraid. It’s an everyday thing that we had to tell him, ‘Tomorrow no school, OK, OK,’ so he wouldn’t cry — and then in the morning, deal with the reality that he has to go,” Christina says.

She also is concerned about the school’s solution to all of his alleged problems.

A Chicago Public School spokesperson says he was moved him from his third-grade class to a multi-age, self-contained class of two fifth-graders and nine fourth-graders, making him the only third-grader in the bunch.

A CPS spokesperson says: “While this matter is still being investigated to determine exactly what happened, we have been and continue to work closely with the student and his family to ensure that all of the services and resources that he needs are provided.”

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