Autistic and Allergic: Teacher Gives Student Peanuts

By Nicole Hegewald

On September 22, 2009, in Indianapolis, a lawsuit was filed against Mary Bryan Elementary School special education teacher, Trinda Barocas. Anita Young claims the woman tried to feed her autistic, and extremely allergic, son a product with peanuts to get out of taking him on a field trip on March 16, 2009.

“I think she should be held accountable…”

Barocas offered a Mr. Goodbar to Jacob

Barocas offered a Mr. Goodbar to Jacob

“She knew how severe his allergy was,” Young said. “To tempt a child with something that could take their life — honestly, it blows my mind. I think that she should be held accountable for what she’s done.”

The 8-year-old boy, Jacob, did not eat the Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar, because he did not recognize the wrapper, and does not eat unfamiliar foods, according to his mother.

Barocas has also been accused of abusing the boy in other circumstances. She is charged with pinching the boy as well as grabbing and dragging him around the classroom. The lawsuit also states she kept the boy contained like a “caged animal” by keeping him enclosed in a cubicle intended for short periods of time, according to a classroom aide. Young believes criminal charges are warranted.

“I’m outraged. When I think about my son’s face — he can’t speak — I just have to see the torture in his face,” Young said. “It hurts a mother to know that every day I sent him back there.”

During this ordeal Jacob was resistant to return to the school. Young said he was angry and frustrated and would fight her when she attempted to get him to school. Jacob was able to attend the trip but is now attending a different school.

“He doesn’t fight me to go to school,” Young said. “It’s wonderful to see him get up and put his backpack on and wait by the door.”

Barocas resigned at the end of the school year, but Officials announced it had no correlation to the abuse.

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