Mother says son with autism assaulted, threatened at middle school in Union Co

Mother says son with autism assaulted, threatened at middle school in Union Co

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Union County mother has turned to law enforcement after alleged incidents involving her son at Porter Ridge Middle School.

Angela Cipriano said her son is a 12-year-old seventh grader at Porter Ridge Middle School. She said he has been diagnosed with autism and an anxiety disorder. She asked that WBTV not use her son's name in this story.

Cipriano has filed three separate incident reports with the Union County Sheriff's Office this year. She claims her son has been assaulted twice and threatened once during the course of the school year.

She claims another student slapped her child in the face in September and then punched him in the face in October. Cipriano said the most recent incident happened Thursday on a school bus when another student threatened to shoot her child in the face.

She said that the threat made her son's anxiety build and he began to get upset. The concerned mother said she got a call from the school to come pick her son up after the incident.

"I don't want to see my child suffer like this. It's not fair to him or any other child," said Cipriano.

She said it is unclear what the school has done about the situations.

"They will not tell me what kind of action is being taken because it's a minor child," said Cipriano regarding the students she claims have wronged her son.

Tahira Stalberte, Assistant Superintendent for Communications and Community Relations, sent WBTV the following response to questions about the incidents in an email:

I am not able to discuss individual student matters. In all of these incidents, district policy and protocol were followed.

Cipriano said she would like to see policies change within the school district regarding student discipline.

"I would like to see harsher punishment for a child who threatens with a weapon or assaults another child," said Cipriano.

She also suggested bringing in advocates to talk to classrooms about bullying and the effect it can have on other children.

Cipriano said that the school has also changed her son's schedule, and tried to change what school bus he rides. However, she thinks the students who have allegedly antagonized her son should be the ones having to make changes.

"Remove the problem, do not punish my son. He's not the issue here," said Cipriano.

The mother said she has also filed a complaint with the Union County Public Schools superintendent's office and the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights regarding the incidents.

"The school's not really that great with following up, to say the least. I'm hoping to hear something about this incident, but I don't know," said Cipriano regarding the situation that happened Thursday.

She encourages any other parents who are having issues at Porter Ridge Middle School to contact her.

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