MIDDLEBORO - Steven Adamec, a counselor at a Middleboro school for special needs students, is free on bond, accused of assaulting a 10-year-old boy.
"With his autism it's hard for him to process things like this," said Michelle Melander of her son Jacob. "He was really upset -- so we're working through that."
Adamec, 50, was in Wareham District Court Monday, charged with dragging the youngster across the floor and then hitting him -- after the boy got into a skirmish with another student. He entered a not guilty plea.
The incident began after classes Friday in a hallway at READS Academy in Middleboro -- a school for kids with a wide range of physical and emotional challenges. It was another staffer who called police.
The sad irony here is that Adamec is a counselor trained in de-escalating trouble as it's brewing.
"That's his job," says Melander. "He's supposed to work with special needs children and help them cope. That's why this was just shocking to everybody."
Indeed, witnesses say when Adamec pulled the boy into a padded room to cool down -- the child insulted him -- and Adamec lost it.
"The defendant then slapped the victim across the face and said, 'I'll kill you!'" a prosecutor told the judge Monday.
Adamec -- who the kids call "Mister A" -- was fired by the school and arrested. Much of the incident is on school surveillance video.
In his statements to police, Adamec indicated he was defending himself as the boy was trying to kick him.
"I got upset," Jacob told us. "I called him every name in the book and then he hit me."
"No child -- special needs or not -- should ever have to go through this -- ever," said his mom. "It's unacceptable."
Melander hopes the counselor loses his license and never works with kids again. "I thought it was a dream," she said. "Heartbreaking that it would actually happen."
The school has apologized in a letter to parents, arguing this incident should not define them. But Jacob is not going back. And his mom is talking about a lawsuit.
Adamaec was charged with assault and battery on a child, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, threat to commit crime/solicitation of a crime and assault and battery on a person with intellectual disability.
for more features.