A Davie school employee was arrested for grabbing an autistic boy by his hair and then throwing him to the floor after he misbehaved during a school field trip, authorities said.
David Michael Baier, 49, is employed with AEF Schools and was arrested Wednesday on child abuse charges, according to a complaint affidavit.
"I sent him there to get a good education, and because they said they could help him, and I never expected this," said the boy's mother, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, Wendy.
On July 27, Baier was captured on video being “physical” with the boy after the 12-year-old was placed in his care after the trip, according to the affidavit. While in the classroom for punishment, the child fidgeted, talked back and bent forward in his seat. As a result, Baier advised the boy to stand for five minutes without “annoying him,” Davie Police said.
The child crouched on the floor and refused to get up.
Baier then laughed and said that he hoped the child would respond in such a way, police said. The man proceeded to grab him by the hair on the top of his head, pull the child up from the floor and then threaten to "do something worse" if he didn’t stand.
After the two exchanged words, Baier threatened to throw the boy to the ground. The child got in a defensive posture and cried, but Baier continued to grab his hair, pull him from the chair, throw him to the ground and pin him to the floor “for a brief moment,” the affidavit said.
Baier is a special services coordinator at the Alternative Education Foundation's school in Davie who was in charge of disciplining children when they "acted out," the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
According to the report, the child was “argumentative” and “disrespectful” on the field trip. He refused to tie his shoelace and then pushed his shoe in the face of Baier and another staff member. He also stomped on Baier’s foot, the affidavit said.
Davie Police said that although the child was verbal, he was not physical or violent. They also said that they determined that Baier’s actions were meant to cause injury.
The school's principal declined to comment Wednesday.
On the school's website, officials pride themselves on providing a nurturing and caring environment for children with special needs.
Attorneys for Wendy's son said that's far from the case.
"This school not only condoned the behavior of this teacher, but now there’s evidence out there this teacher was actually abusing the children," attorney Elias Hilal said.