'I can understand a bump or a bruise... but this is just unacceptable'

'I can understand a bump or a bruise... but this is just unacceptable' »Play Video

VANCOUVER, Wash. - A father is blaming a teacher for leaving bruises on his special needs son.

"I can understand a bump or a bruise, but this is like, I mean, bruising from the shoulder down to the shoulder blade. Both sides, wrists - it's just unacceptable," said Trevor Petersen.

Petersen said it all started when a teacher at Marrion Elementary School started wrestling his 10-year-old son into a safe room because the child had refused to do a task. Someone Petersen knows at the school saw what was going on and called him.

When Petersen saw the marks on his son, he snapped pictures and contacted Evergreen Public Schools. He said they didn't take his complaint seriously at first and the superintendent would not return his phone calls.

District officials would not talk to us on camera, but off camera they did confirm there was an incident involving the teacher and Petersen's son and that they have launched an investigation. The teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave while the school district looks into what happened.

Petersen took his son directly to an emergency room to get checked out after the incident. He said the doctor there told him that if a parent brought in a child as bruised as his son was, and the incident hadn't already been connected to a teacher, he would have treated it as a case of abuse and called state child protective services to take custody of the boy.

Petersen has since moved his son to another school.

And what about the safe room? These types of rooms, also called seclusion rooms, have been in the spotlight recently. Petersen said he believes the rooms are valuable, if they are not misused.

"I feel they are a great asset in a special needs classroom," he said. "I think every school should have one. But should they be used as a form of punishment? Absolutely not."


KATU On Your Side Investigator Bob Heye started looking into this after receiving a news tip. If there is something you would like us to take a closer look at, send an e-mail to investigators@katu.com.