Family files lawsuit after teacher’s aide allegedly left bruises on boy with special needs
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — You never really know what will happen when you send your child to school. You assume they will be safe.
That’s the worst part of it for one Albuquerque family. It’s been two years since their special needs child was sent home with bruises and red marks.
The Chavez family believes an educational assistant assaulted him. They’re hoping a newly filed lawsuit will get to the bottom of it. The lawsuit is against the APS School Board, an educational assistant and another staff member they claimed helped cover up the assault.
KOB 4 first met Vincent Chavez in 2019, right after his parents said he was assaulted by an educational assistant at Harrison Middle School.
Chavez has special learning needs so he was and still is in a separate classroom and program. At the time, Chavez’s parents gave us photos showing he had bruises on his arms and red marks on his cheeks.
Fast forward two years, and Chavez, now 14-years-old, is still at that school and his parents still have questions.
“This is a real important thing for our child, you know,” said Vincent Chavez Sr., his father. “We don’t want it to happen in the community to someone else.”
They’ve filed a new civil lawsuit that details that incident back in 2019. On that day, Vincent wanted to go for a walk. Because his classroom wing is secured, his parents said he left through a window.
That’s when documents allege a teacher’s aide brought him back to the classroom and restrained him – measures Chavez’s family said went too far.
According to the lawsuit, APS even filed a licensure complaint against the aide, Derikk Mirabal, stating he used "inappropriate holds on a student causing injury."
“He actually pushed him against the wall several times, against the wall with his face, and then he got him hands back behind him,” said Kimberly Chavez, Vincent’s mother. “He was holding him really tight. Then he kicked him out of a chair which was all seen on camera.”
All that information she said is from an APS police report that references a video – video they still haven’t seen and neither have prosecutors.
Meanwhile, Chavez is trying to press charges against that educational assistant.
KOB 4 asked the District Attorney’s Office if any sort of case is moving forward. A spokesperson sent a statement:
“APS Police submitted an incomplete investigation to our office after the incident occurred. We requested that they send us the complete evidence and, due to COVID, it was delayed. We have asked APS Police to submit the discovery again. They have indicated that they are now able to provide the video. Once we receive the video we will review it and make a final decision on whether or not to prosecute this case.”
“We waited so long,” said Chavez. “We’ve been waiting and he is still in the same system.”
As for the teaching aide involved district officials said he resigned in 2019 – the same year this happened.