The boy went to Roosevelt Elementary School, where 43-year-old Alexia Bogdis has been placed on administrative leave. She turned herself into police on Saturday and has been charged with five counts of cruelty to a child and four counts of battery in a school.
"The teacher came behind him and kicked his chair forward and my son fell into the table and hurt his chest," the boy's father said, speaking to ABC7 on the condition that he remains anonymous. His 5-year-old autistic son was enrolled in a special education pre-school class taught by Bogdis who has been charged with abusing two boys.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti says there are nine criminal counts, "One, actually kicking a child and then finally, depriving one of them for food or drink the whole day," she explained.
The 5-year-old's father says that boy was his son. "At a time when it was really warm and my son came home and his face was totally red, and he looked like he was about to pass out, and we just kept on giving him water and milk to try to hydrate him," he recalled.
The parents say they complained not only to Bogdis, but to school district officials and others in the school community. "Unfortunately, the common response was, 'You guys are being a little bit too sensitive. This person knows what she's doing and your child is safe.'"
Attorney Chris Dolan represents the family and says they cannot trust school officials to do the right thing. "There is a mandatory duty, under the California penal code, for a teacher, an aide, a supervisor, to report suspected child abuse. They can be put in jail for up to six months or fined $1,000 for the failure to report," he told ABC7.
This is the father's message to other parents who may find themselves in the same situation: "Listen to your maternal and paternal instincts. If you think something is wrong, make sure you do everything you can to get to the bottom of it. Don't trust other peoples' opinions when they don't have the facts."
The superintendent of the school district issued a statement saying, in part, the school has zero tolerance of violence of any kind and if the charges are true, she will recommend Bogdis be fired. Bogdis is out on bail and will be arraigned March 1.
She did not return phone calls from ABC7.