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Stuart Chaifetz: "I Can Offer My Son Justice"

The father of 10-year-old Akian Chaifetz, an autistic boy from Cherry Hill, will hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss what has become a national and legal matter.

The following statement was issued by to Collingswood Patch today. We are reprinting it here without alteration.

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A little over one week ago, I posted a video on YouTube which was, at its core, a public statement of my love for my son.  Little did I realize, or could ever dream, that people from around the world would hear my son’s story and open their hearts to him. I am truly overwhelmed and grateful beyond measure. 

When I produced that video all I had hoped for was an apology from the classroom staff, something I could offer my child on the day he was ready to face what had happened to him. Now it appears I may be able to offer him something more: justice.

Yesterday I was contacted by a representative of the Cherry Hill School District. After a long and in-depth discussion, I was assured that the District is dealing with this issue with the seriousness it deserves. After careful consideration, I have decided to allow them the space they need to do that. 

I had intended to release more audio clips detailing what happened in my son’s former classroom, but once I realized that by doing that I could contaminate and potentially derail the investigation, I made the decision not to.

However - If at any time I feel the district is not following through in a responsible manner, then I reserve the right to release further information to the media.  I doubt anyone who has seen my video would think I would do otherwise.  

I did not intentionally mean to mislead anyone about the release of the new audio. This is, however, one of those times when circumstances change and a difficult choice needed to be made. I am trying to do the right thing for what I hope is a just outcome to this ordeal, and I hope everyone understands that. 

While I will give the District the time to investigate, I shall not be idle. My life has been forever altered by the heartbreaking stories of abuse and bullying that have been sent to me by the thousands. From across the nation I have heard from current students and former students. Some have special needs, many letters were from parents with special needs children. From the sheer volume of it all, the only conclusion I can make is that bullying is a bane of catastrophic proportions.  

I am not anti-teacher in any way. I respect teachers. But I am mystified and dispirited by the current system of tenure that makes it so difficult to fire a bad teacher, or gives them long periods of paid leave while the system grinds to a crawl.

Therefore I shall reach out to every member of the New Jersey State legislature and tell them that not only is reform desperately needed, but that they have more than forty-three thousand people on our Facebook page, and one-hundred-fifty-three thousand people who have signed our petition ready to help create a fair and equitable system that protects good teachers, but gets rid of the bad ones.

To the teacher's union I say this: I am not your foe. I am not here to be the weapon that destroys what you have fought hard for. I only seek moderate and reasonable change. 

When four million people spend seventeen minutes watching a father tell the story of what happened to his son in school, then that should be a clarion call that things must change.

john q public May 03, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I wanted to point out that I have a close family member that has this disorder. I stated my opinion, and YOU called me an idiot. How does that make me the bad guy? Just because my opinion is different than yours I am automatically inferior to you? You must be a lock-step demoncrat
Ken Buck May 03, 2012 at 12:44 PM
It seems very noble of this knight in youtube armor to hold off and give the real authorities time to do a proper investigation, rather than the lynch mob of public opinion. And his honor shows clear that he will still threaten to release more if his demands aren't met! (Wait this sounds like he is doing something else.... Hmmmm.) I'm sure that now, after all the attention and his self made voice, he stands a much better chance of being elected to whatever seat he trys to run for next. I could be an interesting twist to this story... The Collingswood Patch should look into this fathers failed political past and look into how this national created voice will help him plans and agenda in the future.
bloommonet May 03, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Really Ken? I don't think standing up for his son has anything to do with his political agenda! What happened to his son in that classroom is totally unacceptable. I can only hope something like this never happens to my children. I think he went through the proper channels before posting the video. When you want to be heard, public opinion is very important to get things moving. If he is using his son for his future political success then shame on him. But, I believe he is only trying to bring justice to his son.
Nicksson May 03, 2012 at 05:56 PM
hot topic. lot of passion. I think we can all agree that the classroom should never a setting for sarcasm or ridicule at any level, even in jest.
pf May 05, 2012 at 02:18 PM
john q, you really need to get up to speed on this story. Mr Chaifetz has not hired an attorney, does not plan to sue to to seek financial gain and wants BOTH an apology AND dismissal of the teacher. He DID go througgh proper channels and was told by the district that they complied. That was a lie. They simply transferred the teacher and told the public that "none of those involved in this situation remain in our district". When Mr Chaifetz discovered this lie, it was only THEN that he took his story to YouTube. You can do a simple google and read all of this for yourself prior to commenting on issues that you are uninformed about.

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