Parents furious after photos of students with special needs were taken in Fox Lane High School bathroom

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Bedford, NY – Some parents in Westchester County are outraged after photos of students with special needs using the school bathroom were reportedly shared on social media.

A mother sat down with CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis on Monday to share her concerns.

“It’s been really hard on my family,” Karen Close said.

Close has been struggling since learning that a compromising photo was taken of her son, Jonathan, who has autism, and other students with special needs while using the bathroom at Fox Lane High School.

“In the photos, the students who took these photos went into the bathroom, took it as a selfie with the bare buttocks of the students behind them in the urinals, and then posted them,” Close said. “He was like, ‘Why would someone do that to me?'”

Adding to her frustration, Close said the school did not immediately notify her. She discovered it a week after the report, in March, during an unrelated meeting with a teacher.

“In addition to not telling us, I think not immediately involving the police is another major hole in how this was handled and an administrative failure,” Close said.

The parents, desperate for answers, decided to take matters into their own hands by offering a reward for the information. Close said they received several photos, which they took directly to Bedford Police.

“It took a flyer and a monetary reward to get this out. To me, it’s absolutely despicable and it’s a testament to the culture we have here and it’s not a good culture,” Close said.

Outraged parents raised their concerns at several recent Bedford Central School District board meetings.

“My non-verbal son was a victim and because he couldn’t protect himself or ask for help, I’m here to be his voice,” one parent said.

“Transparency has always been problematic and respect for our community with special needs is sorely lacking,” said another.

The council has pledged to engage an independent third-party company to investigate.

“And to review current district policies, procedures, practices, culture and training to better protect the safety and privacy of all students,” council chairman John Boucher said during an April 20 meeting.

The district superintendent’s office declined CBS2’s request for comment. In a letter dated March 31, he noted that “prompt disciplinary action is being taken.”

“They have made adjustments, major adjustments, in recognition of when a situation occurs and when communication occurs,” Superintendent Dr. Joel Adelberg said April 20.

But parents say they want to see systemic changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again, especially for the most vulnerable students.

“I feel like the system is failing them and something needs to be done to fix this,” Close said.

Bedford Police are still investigating the incident. The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office confirmed his involvement, but did not provide further information.

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