Mother asks school for help, gets rude message

January 14, 2010 3:46:34 AM PST
A mom was trying to get extra help for her young son, but a school employee's response shocked her. The Katy mother says she was calling to get help for her autistic son, but she ended up in tears after hearing what was on her answering machine.

Anna Saulsberry's four-year-old son, Adonis, was diagnosed about a year ago with autism.

"One of his main problems is speech," said Saulsberry.

He is in a special program at a Katy elementary school.

"Although the school is doing a really great job we thought well maybe we should get some extra speech help," Saulsberry said.

So she called the district's Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities, or PPCD, for a reference last week. An employee returned the call and left her a message.

"I was returning a call to Anna about her son needing speech therapy," said the employee in the message.

The message goes on for a couple of minutes with the employee explaining what Saulsberry should do next.

"If he already has a diagnosis of autism we can go ahead and start the referral process," said the employee.

Then the message to Saulsberry ends.

"Thank you. Bye, bye," said the employee.

But that wasn't the end of the recording.

"I love these calls. 'This is Anna, I have a son that's autistic and needs speech therapy. What?" said the employee over laughter. "'Hello, this is Anna my son is autistic and he needs speech therapy.'"

Saulsberry believes the employee thought the phone was hung up, but the office chatter was being recorded on her answering machine.

"It just cracks me up, it's like OK," said the employee.

Saulsberry was stunned.

"It appears they are making fun of me and I'm not really sure why they think it's funny because I'm already traumatized that my son isn't talking," Saulsberry said.

The school district says it became aware of the issue last Friday and issued this statement, "It appears that the employee's remarks are not appropriate and do not reflect the values of our district. This type of behavior will not be tolerated and the appropriate corrective action will be taken."

Saulsberry has her own opinion on what that corrective action should be.

"I feel she doesn't need to work in that department anymore," she said.

Saulsberry says she called and confronted the employee and says the woman did apologize to her.