Family sues suburban school alleging mistreatment of son with autism


CHICAGO —  The parents of a child with autism have filed a lawsuit against a Berwyn school for what they claim are repeated cases of mistreatment of the boy.

Gianni Roden, 8, recently came home from Prairie Oak Elementary with permanent marker on his back. The family said the school has given them no answers about how it happened. They added the school claimed it may have happened at home or Gianni may have drawn on his own back.

The family said this is not the first issue with the school. They said their son was restrained in a chair with exercise bands in 2015.

“I don’t care what kind of student it is. No student should ever be tied to a chair with an exercise band. It is beyond inappropriate and it’s wrong,” John Chwarzynski, the family’s attorney, said.

The suit alleges the boy was lost for a short time while at the school on another occasion.

The suit does not demand money but requests the school provide any video that will help shed light on the marker incident.

“I just want to make sure that we get some more answers,” Gianni’s mother said. “I don’t want this matter to get brushed off.”

Gianni has limited verbal skills, so he is unable tell what happened to him.

The family said they can’t afford a private school.

The Berwyn School District would not comment as it has not read the lawsuit.

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