NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A 4-year-old boy was left alone in a stairwell, and his outraged mother said school workers left him there as a punishment for behaving badly.
Cell phone video taken inside P.S. 198 in East Harlem showed the pre-kindergarten student alone, unsupervised in a stairwell, playing with piles of cash.
As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, the boy's mother Fatima Scipio claimed the isolation was punishment for her son's bad behavior, but it went too far and has gotten physical.
"The para-professional has dragged him down the stairs, has pinned him against the wall with his arms pinned against the wall, and he said to me, 'Mommy, my arms was hurting,'" Scipio said.
Scipio said she found out the harsh punishment has been going on for the last three weeks, after the video was taken by a school employee who was disturbed by the boy's treatment.
"If this mom had done that in her apartment building and put her son in that stairwell, guess where she would be right now? Jail," community activist Tony Herbert said.
Scipio said she's had issues with the school since last November over her son's behavior, but hasn't gotten anywhere.
"I get numerous phone calls each and every day that my son has spit, kicked, and did all of these things, and I've asked the school 'what are you guys doing to my child while he's in school? What is the reason for him to behave in this manner?' Because my child does not behave in this manner in no shape or form at home at all," she said.
Scipio, along with the family's lawyer and Herbert, is demanding the school answer for its actions.
"For them to treat my child in this manner, I am flabbergasted," she said.
In a statement issued Monday night, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education promised a swift response.
"We are investigating this alarming allegation and taking swift action. There will be additional guidance counselors and social workers at the school tomorrow and our top priority is keeping all students safe," said Toya Holness, Deputy Press Secretary for the DOE.
for more features.