Santa Ana elementary teacher seen verbally abusing special needs students, families say

The families of six students have filed a complaint against the Santa Ana Unified School District, after a video surfaced seemingly showing an elementary school teacher verbally abusing and mocking special needs students.

The video shows an incident in a second grade special needs classroom in December 2023. According to a filing against the district, a mom of one of the students in the class recently noticed her son had accidentally filmed a video of the class.  

In the video, the teacher is seen shouting at special needs students, and in one instance, pointing at the child with scissors while yelling.

One of the students in the video was 9-year-old Bella Elias. Bella's mom, Alma Moreno, said Bella went from eager to get on the school bus in the morning, to refusing to go to school, and she couldn't figure out why.

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"After seeing the video, the way that her face [changed], it was just really sad for me," Moreno said.

Also in the video, 9-year-old Carlos Gurrola. In the video, the teacher is seen bent over in front of his desk, shouting in his face. After the incident, Angelica Gurrola, Carlos' mom said whatever progress her son made in class, was gone. 

Angelica Gurrola said that school officials have said not to talk about the situation. 

"What we're going to do is we're going to learn just how often, just how long the school distric allowed this to happen," said Attorney Elan Zektser, who's representing the families. "The teacher should be arrested for what she did/ She should be arrested for assault, in my opinion, and I'm a former prosecutor."

The Santa Ana Unified School District told FOX 11 that it's not able to comment on ongoing claims against the district.