A Brooklyn parent plans to sue the city after a school aide punched his then-11-year-old autistic son in the face in 2014.
The boy’s father, Anatoly Veltman Sr., announced his plans to sue the city for $5 million in damages—both physical and emotional—on Monday, April 4, after he and his attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, saw the surveillance video of the unexpected punch that took place at a cafeteria table. The footage took over a year to obtain by a court order, reported MRCTV.
“I was very upset to see my son abused by someone entrusted to care for him,” said Anatoly Veltman Sr. “I saw a huge blue bruise above his eye, it was a big bump and it was clear to me he was punched with great force.”
Milton Parker, 59, was first indicted on a felony charge for striking the boy in the school cafeteria. But last year, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge—misdemeanor assault—and was required to attend anger management classes, according to WNBC.
Veltman said he was in total disbelief to learn a paraprofessional had allegedly assaulted his son, who has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old, reported NBC New York.
“I wouldn’t believe it. It was an impossibility,” said Veltman.
Parker reportedly approached the autistic boy, also named Anatoly, for spilling ice and throwing a napkin on the floor. Anatoly then responded to Parker—who is black—by saying, “This table is for whites only.”
Parker did not take it too well, and physically assaulted the boy shortly after.
“Who gets hit and doesn’t respond?” Parker told The NY Daily News. “The kid punched me in the eye first and as a reflex he got hit back.”
“My whole life was destroyed because of this one incident,” Parker said.
The 26-year veteran of the New York City Department of Education retired shortly after and is currently collecting pension.
Veltman who is pushing for a change in the way the city hires and trains paraprofessionals who work with special needs children says:
“To people working with special-needs children, be compassionate. Figure out non-confrontational ways of dealing with them. These children don’t think the way we think, their perception is different, their reality is somewhere within them. You’ve got to understand that and do everything for their safety and hopefully their education,” Veltman urged.