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Runcie, parents meet after accusations of abuse in special needs class

'I'm not going to believe anything until I start seeing the changes,' one says

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PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Broward County Public Schools held a meeting Monday designed to put parents at ease after an accidental robocall went out to every parent in the district from Superintendent Robert Runcie last week.

The call concerned two teachers who were allegedly recorded swearing at autistic kindergartners and threatening to hurt them. In one audio recording, it sounds like one girl is being physically abused. 

"All I was imagining was my son in the classroom and these children's teacher grabbing him violently and doing whatever they want with him because he can't communicate," Jason Segalbaums said.

Parents of students at Pasadena Lakes Elementary in Pembroke Pines heard the audio using a product called Angel Sense that allows them to listen in on interactions with their children in the classroom.

Parents said Monday that Runcie made a lot of promises, but they are still skeptical about how this incident is being handled by the district.

"I'm not going to believe anything until I start seeing the changes," Gisela Lopez said.

Lopez said she wanted Runcie to know the trauma her daughter is now going through and that this will affect the children in the long haul.

"It was a lot of talk, and I hope and pray that what Runcie said and the others in the room said will actually come to fruition," Segalbaums said.

Segalbaums' son was in the classroom where the teachers were allegedly being verbally abusive. He said he is pushing for cameras in the classrooms.

The parents said the one positive that came out of the meeting. The two teachers are no longer allowed in any classroom in Broward County.

"That really does like give me some peace at night because I would not want those ladies anywhere near students whether they're special or (general education) they should not be teaching," Segalbaums said.

Runcie did not address the media but the parents said they are going to continue pushing forward to make sure their children and all children are safe moving forward.

A spokeswoman with the Pembroke Pines Police Department confirmed detectives are investigating the claims against both teachers. The Broward Sheriff's Office Child Protective Investigations Section has also opened up an investigation. 

The identities of the teachers have not been released. 

About the Author:

Nicole Perez is the the primary co-anchor of Local 10 News at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. She first joined Local 10 in July 2016 as the morning traffic reporter.