Mom wants answers after son with autism struck by substitute teacher

CHICAGO -- The mother of a 7-year-old boy with autism wants answers after she says her son was hit at a CPS school.

Paulie Vaca’s mother Holley Cornwell-Vaca says her son will never return to Hendricks Community Academy.  Her son is ok but she says she can’t believe more isn’t being done.

“He’s happy. He’s not an aggressive, mean kid,” Holley says.  “He is non-verbal.  And he has cognitive issues social issues.”

Paulie is in 1st grade at Hendricks and is enrolled in a special needs class.  Holley says up until last week she had been happy with the school.  But that changed after a call from the principal days after an incident at the school.

The principal said a substitute hit her son but would not say where.

Paulie had been having some issues and kicked a teacher, his mom says.  Other than being told that, CPS and the principal have stonewalled her, saying only the incident is under investigation.

“It’s been over a week later and I don’t know anything,” Holley said.  “That’s a problem. The principal lied to me.  Something should have been done already.  My son got hurt.  Nothing was done and nobody told me anything.”

The district suspended the two substitute classroom aides and banned them from the classroom while it investigates. But Holley only learned that after reporters told her.

The district told said in a statement today, “Student wellbeing is  our top priority and we take seriously any allegations of student mistreatment... The district has instituted a thorough investigation into the matter.”