ANTIOCH (KRON) — The Antioch special needs school at the center of a KRON investigation into allegations of students being abused by staff is now being scrutinized by the California Department of Justice.
KRON’s Maureen Kelly has been digging into the Tobinworld school for months. And on Monday, she talked to a former teacher’s aide who has been subpoenaed to testify Tuesday about what she witnessed going on inside Tobinworld classrooms.
“It was mainly regarding the children and the abuse that they suffered,” former aide Ashley Viaan said.
Viaan is talking about the call she got from an attorney with the Department of Justice before she was hit with the subpoena.
This all happened after Ayesha, her husband, and two other aides appeared on KRON4 during a multi-part investigation into the special needs school for students with autism and who are severely emotionally or developmentally disabled, ranging from 5 to 22 years old.
It was all sparked by a shocking video which appeared to show a 9-year-old boy being slapped and roughed up by a teacher’s aide. At the time, it was called an isolated incident by the school.
But the former aides KRON spoke to said they witnessed other incidents of staff using force against students for acting out or talking back.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced that their recently formed Bureau of Children’s Justice has launched an investigation into non-public schools related to their treatment of students with disabilities.
Tobinworld is the only school specifically named.
A DOJ spokesperson said they could not comment because this is an active investigation.
Tobinworld’s lawyer said the school is a well-known, non-public school and simply appears to be part of a larger investigation.
Ayesha, a mother of four, said she is glad that the Department of Justice has stepped in and is happy to testify.
“Because at the end of the day, it’s for the children,” Viaan said. “It’s for these young adults…they have nowhere else to go.”
The California Bureau of Children’s Justice is looking for anyone with information helpful to their investigation.
More on the DOJ Investigation: https://oag.ca.gov/bcj/investigations