Malik Evans is a 5-year-old autistic kindergartener who attended MNO Grant Elementary in Antioch. His parents' attorney says Malik and at least four other autistic children were physically and verbally abused by their special education teacher, 55-year-old Theresa Allen-Caulboy.
"This teacher forced children's faces down onto rugs and furniture so hard that they were injured, she squeezed them so hard that it left bruises on numerous children," Peter Alfert said.
Three families have filed a civil rights complaint in federal court against the teacher, the school district and other officials. According to the complaint, the teacher is said to have pinched the nipple of another autistic child to get him to follow instructions.
For months parents complained to the principal. In fact one of the parents threatened to go to police.
"And the administration of the Antioch school district quote 'de-escalated her' close quote and got her to not make a report to the police," Alfert said.
But eventually another parent did go to the police after a teacher's aide came forward. That's when the district finally placed the teacher on administrative leave. The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office may file criminal charges. That office did not want to talk about the case.
The school district didn't want to talk either. A letter confirmed that one month after being placed on leave, Allen-Caulboy resigned. But when ABC7 News called the school Thursday and dialed her extension her voicemail was still in use.
The teacher lives in Brentwood, but when ABC7 News knocked on her door, no one answered.
"It's the law; it is criminal not to report suspected child abuse if you are a teacher, a principal or an aide, that is a crime," Alfert said.
The district has not received the complaint because it is spring break. The superintendent emailed ABC7 News only to say that he cannot comment on personnel matters.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for the families.