Mike Mann and The Cochran Firm - Orlando are representing the family of teen on the autism spectrum who they allege was abused and forcibly restrained at an Orlando charter school.

Mann filed suit on Monday, August 8th against Access Charter School, a school for children with social and cognitive disorders in Orlando, and everyone involved, such as the school's principal, the behavioral therapist, and a teacher.

Mike Mann and the boy's mother spoke out at a press conference recently in Orlando. 

In April of 2021, the mother of the 14-year-old says that the behavioral specialist, Douglas Cox, who has since stopped working at the school, slammed the child into a desk and restrained him, causing visible bruising. According to the mother, when she asked her son what happened, he said he was “body-slammed,” into a chair against a desk.

“The school tried to say he did that himself by pushing up against a doorknob,”

-Mother of the victim

Following the incident, the child's pediatrician determined that the bruising could not have been from a doorknob, which is not consistent with what the school claimed.

Over the next 9 months, the mother claims that there were 22 injuries from alleged abuse at Access Charter, including fingerprints around his neck and thighs. The boy's parents allege that he repeatedly came home with unexplained bruises and that the school neither disclosed this to the state of Florida nor provided an explanation to the family.  

“He got to the point where he was scared to go to school. He tried to run away,”

-Mother of the victim

At the start of 2022, the child came home from school with fingerprints around his neck. After contacting the school about this, Access Charter School filed a complaint against her through the Florida Department of Children and Families. DCF later launched a separate investigation into the school after talking to the family.

The victim’s mother is now homeschooling her son since he is afraid to go back to school or see anyone who treats him for autism.

The family's hope is that no other special needs children suffer this sort of abuse.  

“There are children in that school that can’t speak. There are some children that carry iPads to communicate... And what happens if that happens to them? I don’t want that happening to another child.”

-Mother of the victim

According to Mann, as the lawsuit progresses, the DCF investigation into the school remains pending.