Child with Down syndrome and autism bullied, Boca Raton police arrest juvenile

Mother says he is now too afraid to leave home

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Boca Raton police arrested a juvenile for battery after a 10-year-old with Down syndrome and autism was allegedly bullied by children in his Boca Raton apartment complex.

According to the child's mother, he was bullied so badly he is afraid to leave their home.

"He doesn't understand why they are mean to him...the kids pull his pants down, throw footballs in his face, and scratch him," the child's mother Daniele Watanabe said.

She says she decided to call the police on Sunday when a child tried to push her son down the stairs.

According to Boca Raton police reports, a juvenile was arrested for battery.

"The hardest part is not the medical issues. It is not the nights I don't sleep. It is what parents do and say...calling my son an animal. I have parents who say this is the retard's home. Those are adults," Watanabe said.

Delray Beach psychologist Mark Ellinger says the bullying does have an impact.

"It can have long lasting effects on them depending on how much they get of the trauma and over how much time," Ellinger said.

Watanabe says she is looking for another place to live, but is financially strapped because of a previous identity theft situation.

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