A mother in Florida says she secretly recorded her son's kindergarten teacher bullying him in school and calling him a "loser," leading the school district to open an investigation.
Kandy Escotto noticed last year that her 5-year-old son Aaron was struggling with his grades and self-esteem, and he said his teacher had called him a bad boy.
Escotto wanted to know what was going on in class, so she put a recorder in his backpack for four days in October, gathering 32 hours of audio from his time at Banyan Elementary School.
The tape captured Rosalba Suarez — who has taught for 33 years and was named the Westchester school's teacher of the year in 2017 — calling Aaron and another boy "loser," CBS Miami reports.
The tapes also featured Suarez telling Aaron his mother was "a little lost" and was "driving me crazy." And she criticized Aaron's work habits and participation. When the boy at one point said he didn't want to participate in class, Suarez asked him if his mother wanted to see "a nice job" or "a loser's job," according to the Miami Herald.
"It's very sad for a mother to realize it is happening to your child in a place where he's protected and being taught," Escotto said at a news conference with her lawyer.
Escotto said she confronted Suarez, who denied making the comments and accused Escotto of lying. Escotto also said she talked to school officials about Suarez several times before the recording, but they did not punish the teacher.
The Miami-Dade County school district now says it is investigating the incident. No action against Suarez has been announced.
"The district will conduct a thorough review of this matter and, if the allegations are substantiated, we will take any and all appropriate disciplinary actions," district spokeswoman Jackie Calzadilla said in a statement.
The district did not immediately return messages from CBS News.
Escotto said she wants to see the teacher disciplined and she has hired a lawyer while contemplating legal action. She said she agreed to the principal's offer to transfer Aaron to another class in January, and that her son's failing grades have now turned around.
It is illegal in Florida to record someone without their consent. Escotto's lawyer said the mother's actions were legal and justified because the secret recording was captured in a public space with other children present.