Child welfare officials investigating after 8-year-old girl with Down syndrome is repeatedly bitten at school
State child welfare officials are investigating how an 8-year-old girl with Down syndrome was bitten repeatedly by another student on her first day of school in Elizabeth, according to an attorney for the girl’s family.
The Sept. 5 incident is being reviewed by the Department of Children and Families’ Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit, which reviews possible neglect and abuse at schools and other out-of-home settings, an attorney for the family of Emily Montero said.
Emily’s mother, Veronica Salluca, contends her daughter’s troubles at the Elizabeth public schools go back several years, and she has reported two previous incidents to law enforcement. She filed an assault charge in May claiming a staff member grabbed Emily twice by her arm.
The school superintendent maintains that staff have acted appropriately and that child welfare officials have determined each of the mother’s complaints to be unfounded.
Salluca is currently trying to get Emily into another school district, according to one of her attorneys, Josh McMahon of Westfield.
McMahon said it remains unclear how a girl who is required to have an aide with her at all times could have been bitten multiple times without anyone noticing. Emily had six bite marks on her face, arms and legs after her first day, according to her older sister, Britanie Montero.