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WCBS 880 Exclusive: LI Father Claims Aides At Daughter's School District 'Not Trained, Not Professional'

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A Long Island father claims his daughter, who has special needs, is upset and does not want to go to school after the district replaced her longtime aide with someone who allegedly does not have proper training.

Mark Zelmanovich said his 10-year-old daughter Emma is bright and beautiful, but it is difficult for her to do anything physical because she has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair.

For five years, Zelmanovich said Emma, a student in the Lawrence School District, has had a wonderful aide who helped her go to the bathroom, pick up pencils that fell onto the floor and eat lunch.

"Under the right supervision she absolutely thrives in the school setting, she is the poster child for like the happiest little school girl you'll ever meet," Zelmanovich said in an exclusive interview with WCBS 880's Sophia Hall.

But three weeks ago, Zelmanovich said that aide was replaced with a woman who he said does not understand Emma's special needs, Hall reported.

"The person was very, very rough when she tried taking my daughter's jacket off, and actually hurt her. And she said, 'Stop, stop' and the person didn't really listen," Zelmanovich said. "At this point she's miserable, she just doesn't want to go to school and she comes home sad every day."

Zelmanovich claims the school district is "outsourcing all of these roles to third party vendors."

"The quality of the people is absolutely terrible, they're not trained, they're not professional, they're not disciplined," he said.

Zelmanovich is now sending Emma's private home nurse to school to make sure she is safe.

"People they're sending have zero experience, zero understanding about how involved this case is," he said. "This is a case of neglect and child endangerment because the slightest misplacement or mishandling of Emma -- she can break a bone, a rod, or a screw, she will need emergency surgery."

WCBS 880 has reached out to the superintendent for comment.

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