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'Teachers waterboarded my autistic son,' claims U.S. mother

Two teacher’s aides are accused of holding a 14-year-old autistic boy’s head under running water, forcing him to eat his own vomit and making him sit in his soiled clothes for hours.

Garrett Schilling, who cannot speak, attended Great Falls’ North Middle School, in Montana, from 2008 until April 2009.

He allegedly suffered abuse at the hands of Kristina Marie Kallies and Julie Ann Parish, who each deny charges of one felony count of assault and one misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of children.

The boy’s mother Tifonie Schilling says she learned of the alleged abuse after another staff member emailed her.

She said: ‘He was having water-boarding-like torture done to him on a frequent basis. They were holding his head under the water.’

Maria Bubb, who worked as a substitute teacher in Garrett’s classroom in October and November last year, said in court documents that staff were ‘mean and degrading’ to the teenager and that Kallies would ‘point her finger in his face and scream at him’

Other teachers have also testified to say they saw Garrett’s head held under running water and described how he was forced to sit in his own faeces for hours.

Mrs Schilling said ‘He lives in a world now where he is constantly in fear that somebody is going to hurt him.’

If Kallies and Parish are convicted, they could face a maximum of five-and-a-half years in prison.

The parents of five other children at the school also claim their children were abused.

Molly Gillis says her daughter came home from the school 'on numerous occasions with bite marks, bruises, burnt fingertips and missing hair.'

The Saali family say their daughter was 'hit with pens' leaving her with 'welts on her neck'. The family also allege their daughter was hit on the head with a pan.

And the Pepos say they are 'more than sure' their son spent time locked in a closet.

The Cascade County Attorney’s Office said the investigation remains ongoing and more charges could follow.


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Posted in: News on October 30, 2009 @ 1:59 AM

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