A New York City mother is angry after watching a video she says shows her son being left inside a trash-filled stairwell as an apparent means of discipline at his pre-kindergarten school.
The video, recorded about a week ago by a school worker, was sent anonymously to community advocate Tony Herbert, who spoke to reporters Monday alongside the boy's mother, Fatima Scipio.
In the footage, the 4-year-old boy is seen throwing and kicking around trash bags in an isolated stairwell used to hold trash at PS 198 in East Harlem, Scipio said. He was sent there after he began acting out in the classroom.
Scipio said her son had been getting into trouble at school but didn't know what prompted the change in his behavior.
"I get numerous call from the school each and every day that my son has spit, kicked and did all of these things," she said. "I have asked the school, 'What are you guys doing to my child while he is in the school? What is the reason for him to behave in this manner? What is going on with my child at school?' And no one can answer me."
When she saw the video of her son lashing out while being left alone in the trash-filled stairwell, Scipio realized what was happening.
"When he starts to to have his tantrums, that's where they place him," she said.
"I knew about the behavior issues. I didn't know he was being left in a stairwell," she added.
Scipio said the school's manner of dealing with her son's behavior is inappropriate.
"My child is a human being. For them to treat my child in this manner, I'm flabbergasted and floored," said the mother.
Scipio said her son was the "sweetest" child while attending day care last year.
"He started this school in September — why all of a sudden has he turned from the sweetest kid to mean and angry and upset?" said Scipio.
She said she attributes the change in her son's behavior to the people around him and she wants her son placed in a different school.
The Department of Education did not return multiple calls for comment Monday evening.
The video was sent to Herbert's office, who in turn alerted the mother. She said she doesn't know who recorded the video but is grateful it came to light.