On June 5, 7-year-old Michael Perrin fell after getting off the bus at Resica Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The fall caused Perrin, who has Down syndrome and is non-verbal, serious facial injuries. Now Perrin’s family say the school refuses to release video of the incident or take action.
In a June 6 video posted on YouTube, Perrin’s mother, Elizabeth Aguero, said she was told by the school Perrin’s fall was an accident. Perrin’s sister, who goes by the Instagram handle @art_official_beauty, told The Mighty Perrin’s injuries from his fall are serious, including two facial fractures, a swollen eye and other injuries on his face.
“It is unclear right now how serious the injuries are,” Perrin’s sister said. “Because of his head trauma they needed to be very careful with what move to make next so it’s been a slow process. … We are meeting with the doctors and specialists every single day.”
Aguero accused the East Stroudsburg Area School District school of negligence, especially because Perrin would have been under the supervision of at least the bus driver and an aide as he got off the bus. According to Aguero, the school pushed back, saying Perrin’s fall was not negligence but an accident. In order to release video footage of the incident, Aguero said the school told her she needed a subpoena.
Perrin’s brother, Angel Rivera, echoed these claims in a June 7 Facebook post and accused the school of trying to cover up the incident, highlighting Perrin is nonverbal and unable to share what happened.
“My mom is asking the school, the bus driver and school aid what happened and they said he just fell they don’t know exactly what happened she asked to see the video and they REFUSE to show her the video,” Rivera wrote. “I need everybody I know to share this for me, please, cause the school is trying to cover it up.”
Perrin’s sister said they turned online after the school refused to release the tapes. Perrin’s family have been using the hashtag #JusticeForMichael on social media to help raise awareness. According to her social media account, some high-profile public figures have spread the word, including Cardi B in a now-expired Instagram story.
In a recent Instagram post, Perrin’s sister said they met with a lawyer in New York, but were redirected because the incident occurred in Pennsylvania. So far the school has not responded publicly to any of Perrin’s family’s claims or requests for action. The family wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to other students with disabilities.
“The school was responsible for getting him safely off his special needs bus for school everyday,” Perrin’s sister told The Mighty. “They failed the safety of Michael and failed to cooperate so [we] can understand what happened. The video still isn’t released but we are moving forward and we want justice for Michael. We want to make sure this never happens again to any child with special needs.”
The Mighty has reached out to Resica Elementary School principal Gail Kulik and East Stroudsburg Area School District superintendent William Riker for comment and has yet to hear back.
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Author: Renee Fabian