Jersey City parent alleges autistic child ‘was subjected to repeated acts of violence’


A Jersey City parent has filed a lawsuit against the board of education alleging that their autistic child, who also suffers from ADHD, “was subjected to repeated acts of violence, intimidation, physical and psychological abuse,” among other things.

The Chaplain Charles Watters School, also known as Public School No. 24 , at 121 Virginia Ave. in Jersey City. Photo via Google Maps.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Beginning on or about September 22, 2021, and continuing, the minor plaintiff was subjected to repeated acts of violence, intimidation, physical and psychological abuse, bias based harassment and other unlawful acts that shall be shown at the time of trial,” the eight-page, six-count lawsuit says.

The student attended Chaplain Charles Watters School, also known as Public School No. 24, an elementary school located at 220 Virginia Ave.

Several teachers and administrators are named as defendants, specifically Magda Savino, Rosalyn Barnes, Dana O’Callaghan, Nicole Tarantula, Hussein Nasser, Wanda Bennett-Cheatham, Ruth Perez, Patty Bradley, and Pebbles Collazzo, for allegedly failing to provide the child “a thorough and efficient public education in a reasonable safe environment.”

The lawsuit, filed by Woodelyne Nathan and identifies the child simply as MM, alleges breach of duties by the district, negligence, violation of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, and breach of duties by the school board.

As a result, the family is seeking damages, interest, costs of suit, attorney’s fees, and any relief the court deems just and equitable. Nathan is represented by Kearny-based attorney F.R. “Chip” Dunne.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Norma Hernandez said the district does not comment on legal matters.

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  1. As a psychologist, I see many children and adolescents in my office who are being bullied and harassed at school and in peer chat groups. Many teachers, counselors, administrators need to be better trained in how to intervene in these circumstances. Being harassed/bullied on line, in the classrooms, or hallways, needs to be swiftly addressed. Harassment and bullying causes severe depression, anxiety, and sometimes suicidal feelings in students. It should never be minimized. Victims of harassment and bullying need to be assessed and therapy referrals made. The harassers and bullies also should be assessed and sent for follow up treatment. Students who victimize other students are acting out psychological conflicts. School personnel should show compassion and empathy towards students who are victims of harassment and bullying.

  2. Unfortunately, bullying is a major issue in many of our schools today. Kids can be cruel and they may not understand the psychological effects that these kind of behaviors can have on a victim or person from being bullied. Over the years, we have seen numerous cases where some kids even went as far as taking their own lives ,or even retaliating and bringing harm to those who may have victimized them. I say all of this to say that bullying is a very serious issue in our society and more specifically in our schools. I do believe these matters should be taken seriously and dealt with in a manner which will bring real consequences and more importantly possible solutions.