DEERFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A teenager with autism was humiliated to the point where he did not want to return to school – and his parents say it is for a good reason.
Those parents are now asking the north suburban school district in which their son is enrolled to place him in a safe setting. But CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov found it has become a fight.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Remains In Parts Of Illinois And Indiana; Lake Effect Snow Lingers
“My son sent me a text from school saying, ‘Mom, something horrible has happened to me,’” said Ilise Zeiger.
That is how Zeiger said the Deerfield High School nightmare started for her 15-year-old son. We are not showing or naming him, so as to add a layer of protection to his identity.
“He said, ‘Kids were pointing at me and laughing and me in a class that I was in, and I got up to see what was going on, and I noticed that there was a video taken of me when I was in the bathroom stall – and they were watching this on Snapchat,’” Zeiger said.
That incident was traumatic enough. The trauma was compounded because her son has autism, with anxiety as part of his official diagnosis.
“I couldn’t believe that this happened,” Zeiger said. “My son had already struggled with feeling safe in his school.”
This happened Thanksgiving week. Her son has not been back to school sense.READ MORE: Snow, Black Ice Cause Multi-Vehicle Pile Up On Interstate 90
Zeiger and her husband began communicating with the high school and Township High School District 113, asking for alternative schooling options that would align with her son’s special education IEP, or individualized education plan.
“We’ve asked the district for an appropriate placement that would fit his academic needs,” Zeiger said.
Among the options requested was home schooling.
Zeiger said the district initially ghosted her, then offered just one option – return to Deerfield. But accommodations would be made to separate her son from classmates in most situations.
Special education advocates say the district is supposed to offer the least restrictive accommodations. This would be just as restrictive.
Less than an hour after we reached out to the high school for comment about this situation, Zeiger said she got an email from Deerfield’s special education co-chair – offering to move her son to Highland Park High School. Zeiger says no.
“We all have to remember he’s the victim in this situation,” she said.MORE NEWS: Upcoming Report From Northwestern Medicine Gives Clues About How Long COVID-19 Symptoms Can Linger
The Zeigers did file a police report, and the case is being investigated. They are also talking to an attorney.