‘I'm Just Afraid for My Son': Mom Outraged Over School Response to Autistic Boy's Mysterious Bruises

Priscilla Cabrera says she reported her boy's bruises to the school and police, and then an ACS investigator showed up saying “a claim” had been filed – against her

What to Know

  • Priscilla Cabrera said she got a call from the school nurse in December that her autistic son had a "red mark" and was treated
  • Later that night, she said she saw multiple bruises on the boy's body; most were on his chest. She later called cops and the school about it
  • The day she did, she says an ACS investigator showed up saying there was "a claim" against her; ACS later said it was unfounded

The mother of a severely autistic Bronx boy says she has been stonewalled in her efforts to find out why her 11-year-old non-verbal son came home from a public school with unexplained bruises. 

Priscilla Cabrera told the I-Team she received a phone call from the school nurse at P 17 in Melrose in December.

"She said, 'He has a red mark and I cleaned him up. I’m sending him back to class,'" Cabrera said the nurse told her. 

Cabrera said she didn’t worry at the time because her son, Dennys Duran, is assigned to a one-on-one paraprofessional at school and on the bus. But that December evening, as she helped get the boy ready for bed, Cabrera said she saw multiple bruises on her son’s body; most were on his chest. 

“I was shocked, devastated, hurt, upset,” she said. “For my son to come home with multiple bruises, that’s not him falling. It’s clear that someone manhandled him very badly.” 

Cabrera said she demanded a meeting with school officials and reported the case to the NYPD. 

“I haven’t got any answers at all,” she said. 

The day she complained, Cabrera said she received a visit from an investigator with the city's Administration for Children’s Services who told her there had been "a claim" -- against her. 

Cabrera said she cooperated and later received a letter stating that the complaint against her was unfounded. 

“I believe they (the school) called ACS just to cover themselves and put the blame on me,” she said. 

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Education told the I-Team the school immediately reported by the boy's bruises to the Office of the Special Investigator, which “concluded that school staff followed the proper protocol.”

Citing privacy reasons, the spokesperson declined to give additional details about what may have happened except to say, "Appropriate follow-up action is being taken." 

Cabrera is considering legal action.

“You can’t beat up my handicapped son just because he can’t speak,” she said. “I’m afraid to send my son to school. I’m afraid to switch my son from school. I’m just afraid for my son.” 

The NYPD said it couldn’t determine whether an attack took place on school grounds so no one has been charged.

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