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Autistic boy's teacher placed on leave amid probe

The New Jersey teacher who says she was out of the room when school staffers were caught on a recording device making inappropriate comments around students was placed on paid leave Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"I wanted to be proactive rather than reactive," Cherry Hill superintendent Maureen Reusche told the newspaper. "My primary focus is the instructional environment in the building."

The teacher's lawyer said his client, Kelly Altenburg, did not call the boy "a bastard" or make other harsh comments that were secretly recorded by the child's father.

Lawyer: Autistic boy's teacher didn't call him 'bastard'

Stuart Chaifetz, 44, put a recording device on his son Akian, 10, and captured audio of staff in his class at Horace Mann Elementary School in Cherry Hill calling him names, laughing at him, and discussing a hangover. Chaifetz said he was trying to get to the bottom of why teaching staff said his son was acting out in class. He later posted the audio on YouTube after what he described as inaction by the school board.

Shortly after Chaifetz posted the video, it went viral. As on Monday, it had garnered more than 4 million views.

A statement released by the superintendent read that the school's investigation into the incident continues, adding: "We do not condone this type of behavior in any form, in any place, by any person associated with our district."

The statement went on to say all employees working in the classroom on Feb. 17 -- the date of the recording -- have been placed on leave "to minimize disruption to our schools" or no longer work for the school district.

The superintendent added that according to New Jersey law, tenured employees are protected against immediate dismissal.

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