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Family sues EDUPRIZE over abuse claims and hours-long neglect of son with autism


The family of a 9-year-old Queen Creek boy with autism claims he was abused at school and even left in a room alone for five hours.

While the school denies everything, the family says it has proof and has filed a lawsuit to hold the school accountable.

The boy's mom suspected something was going on at school after her son's attitude changed at home and he came home with bruises. That's when she attached a recording device to him and was horrified by what she heard.

"I was feeling very, very terrified and I felt very sad also," said 9-year-old Ryder Myers.

The recording is from November of 2019 at EDUPRIZE school in San Tan Valley. Ryder has autism, and his family said his individual education program, commonly known as an IEP, calls for him to be put in a separate classroom with a helper or professionals for 30 minutes to do his schoolwork if he becomes disruptive. But his mom Diane Myers said both Ryder and the recording tell a different story.

"We got five and a half hours of him being imprisoned in a room and assaulted and abused," Diane said. "It's sickening to hear your son go through that."

In the recording, you can hear staff yelling and shutting the door, and Ryder upset, crying, and confused about why he has to be in the room.

"I'm sorry I didn't know how to do it. Let me out of here!" you can hear Ryder screaming through tears at one point.

"It was a nightmare to actually stay in that room for five hours," Ryder told Arizona's Family.

Diane said in the five-hour recording, it's clear nobody was in that room with him.

After a therapist saw Ryder and claimed he now has PTSD, the Myers family sued the school.

Arizona's Family reached out to the school to ask about the allegations and get their side of the story, but they told us the allegations are false and they have no further comment.

"If I hadn't put that recording device on him that day, I would never know what they did to him," Diane said. "If they are going to advertise to educate special needs and autistic children, that they have staff and faculty trained to do so."

While the school denies the abuse, the family believes their proof says otherwise and is suing the school for nine different counts ranging from negligence and emotional distress to assault.

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