Florida father speaks out after alleged mistreatment of autistic child at school
OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) — An Okaloosa County father is sharing his story after receiving a school district investigation report that accuses his child's teacher of mistreating his child.
Eddie Perillo is upset because he said the school district knew about it for a year and never told him.
Perillo's 6-year-old son, Noah, is autistic and non-verbal. In 2016, Noah started to be scared of water bottles and became more violent.
"I thought it was because he couldn’t communicate," Perillo said. "It’s now apparent to me of him being mistreated while at school."
He's referring to a school district investigation report that has recently come to light. More than eight school employees were interviewed in that report and it alleges that Kenwood Elementary special needs prekindergarten teacher, Marlynn Stillions, mistreated his son.
"In the report, it says he was thrown to the ground. How he was sprayed with a water bottle filled with vinegar in the face," Perillo said. "She had a wand with liquid on the end she would shove in his mouth, hold his face against a brick wall."
Perillo said it was difficult to read the report.
“Reading the report, it made me cry. Imagine having a son on the autism spectrum non-verbal. He can’t come home and tell you he is getting hurt."
Perillo said Stillions taught Noah between the ages of 3 and 5. Perillo is now upset because he never knew the teacher was being investigated and that the allegations involved his son.
He only found out about it a year later, when a friend mentioned the investigation in passing.
“They said ‘Did you not know about the abuse report?' I said, ‘No I had no idea.’ They said, 'You might want to get a copy of it, allegations were all around your son being physically abused by Ms. Stillions.'"
Perillo wants to know why the school district knew about it and never said anything to him..
We requested the report, along with communication between all parties. Stillions denies the allegations. She and the Okaloosa Education Association challenged the investigation stating the school district didn't do it in a timely matter and that it violated terms of her contract. The investigation was then never entered into her personnel file.
Perillo has filed a criminal complaint to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) and they have opened an investigation.
Stillions now works at Silver Sands school. The school district told us they are not commenting until the OCSO investigation is complete.