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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Abuse of Special Needs Children in our Public Schools

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: May 29th 2009

 The Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report to the Congressional Committee on Labor and Education about the treatment of special needs children in the public schools. The report was shocking and should be a matter of national concern.

"Special needs children" are those diagnosed with a variety of disabilities and are placed in classes designed to improve their opportunities for learning. Among the disabilities are such things as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism, various learning disabilities, mental illness and children with limited intellectual capacity.

The classes in which these children are grouped are lead by teachers who are supposed to have special training in dealing with these types of children. Howeve, in order to minimize the stigma of being in a separate type of class, these children are often main streamed into classes for average children.

One of the hall marks of many of these children is difficulty controlling themselves. Many autistic and hyperactive children move around a lot and find it difficult to focus their attention on tasks. As a result, teachers find these kids to be very disruptive whether they are in a main streamed or special education class.

What is shocking about the report released by the GAO is the fact that, nationwide, these disabled children are  being harshly disciplined so that there have even been some deaths. For example, one child was held down by the teacher, finally died of suffocation. Other children are handcuffed, placed in restraints, exiled to time out rooms for hours at a time and ridiculed by their adult supervisors. The time out rooms were meant to serve as a place where a child can get some respite for a brief period while they regain self control. Instead, they are being locked into the room for several hours at a time.

Amazingly, there are no federal laws governing the behavior of these teachers. I am aware of one case that happened in Florida this past winter (2009) in which a teacher was sued by the family for child abuse but was found innocent and released.

Evidently, the Florida case is not unusual so that the accused teachers end up returning to their classrooms.

My Opinion of why this happens:

In my opinion, based on years of experience dealing with the public schools, special education teachers are not specially trained to cope with and help these kids. There are school systems around the country that utilize teaching methods based on psychological research that are successful in handling special needs children. One of them is the Lehigh School system in Pennsylvania. However, with few exceptions, special education is a neglected aspect of education in most places.

As a result, many of these children drop out of school by the time they reach the Middle and High School years. By that time, they have soaked up the self image that they are "bad and hopeless," join the ranks of other damaged kids and become involved in alcohol, drug abuse and anti social activities. In the end, society pays the cost of neglect because so many of these youngsters become criminals and enter the prison system. If public funds were used to properly train special education teachers to provide programs that help these child overcome their problems the cost would be minimal because we would not need so many prisons.

This is a matter of deep concern to any parent of a special needs child. It should be a matter of concern to every person. There needs to be a huge public outcry against this problem.

Your comments and questions are encouraged about this important issue.

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, PhD

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Child pull from class daily - Kelly - Mar 12th 2015

Okay, I don't know what to do, and I am really getting angry. I have an ADHD child who is being pulled from his class and daily for just displaying common ADHD impulsivity traits. And I mean daily!  How is this fair? Other than his impulsivity, this child is kind and caring. He wouldn't hurt a fly.! Is this legal or even fair? What can I do to protect my child?  Please -- I need some advice here.  really?  Would they pull a child who is displaying symptoms of asthma or diabetes?

Physically abused at his Middle School - Joseph Maddalena ( Autism ) - Oct 11th 2014

My son's Middle School is under investigation with CPS. Both of his legs got injured at school, after APE ( adaptive Physical Education) period ended!!

School staff never had my son evaluated by the school's nurse

The school refused to talk to me and my husband about who, why, when, it happened.

I'm keeping my son at home until we here an answer from the Principal.

seeking changes for children with disibilities - shandell, lynn - Sep 22nd 2014

There must be a way for parents with disabled children to come togeather and change state and federal laws to protect our kids from all forms of asbuse at school. Laws that are in place now protect the teachers more than the child from all forms of abuse. How can people go about making a change in our legislature? I am currently seeking justice for my son. I am more hurt by the way the situation was handled by the school board,Department of education, police, child protection services. State will not go against state. About a dozen lawyers have said this! I have read so many lawsuits similar to my son's incodent that did not even make it to court because the abuse and or injury simply would not make the lawyer enough money to take it to court. Teacher's who enjoy inflicting pain on a child at school have simply been able to get away with it!  Due to Tenure, Immunity and law.  If i had done this as a parent. I would have gotten serious jail time. Wake up America!!!

Mother - - Aug 28th 2014

As I sit here wondering if putting my autistic and mentally challenged/differently taught daughter in Independent Study is really the right choice I come a across this article and this comment (Maurice Dumonstier) as well as the others. I would like to Thank you all for helping me confirm that I am making the right choice! 

Children with special needs are bearer of truth about the state of our society. - Maurice Dumonstier - May 1st 2014

Children who are out of mainstream at school and outside of school are inadequatly equiped mentally to match our society expectation because they are not corrupted by the savage and brutal expectations of our so called modern society, a society based on class divisions with a pathological problem of measuring the worth of an individual by the amount of money he or she has accumulated and can spend. Until the people of all nations get enough education to abolish the class system which means a complete social revolution, we are to witness more abuses of the kind described in this blog. A society which cannot look after his children, or no longer can look after them properly is doom to perish. Perhaps humans have the hability to do the right thing, nevertheless it is not with money that we can achieve such aim. To be truly human one has to show compassion for the other, no need of religion to do so, just courage. Are we a spicies which has no more courage to fight for a better understanding of what a human being is all about?

I witnessed abuse as a kid in school. - Loni - Mar 30th 2014
I witnessed abuse as a kid in elementary school. Not only me, but teachers and students. The special Ed teacher was abusive to the disabled children. She would hit them. She would grab there arm and yank and shake them like rag dolls. For no reason. And when they would start to cry she became more violent. One day there was a trail of blood drops starting at her classroom. Down the hallway and to the principal 's office. Parents complained. Everyone knew. Everyone saw. But nothing was done about it. She got away with it! A lot of people are not aware of the abuse. They think that it's the other students you have to watch. But No! It is the adults the teachers that are abusive!

Aspergers - blink - Mar 26th 2014

I have a 10 yr old grandson, who his mother has tried to get diagnosed for over 5 yrs.  This past yr he was finally diagnosed with High functioning Autism (aspergers).  The school received an IEP last year and did not follow it and so far this year, things are even worse.  He drums and his mother has ask that an alternative be given for his drumming.  When not drumming, he bites his fingernails.  His teachers are no longer giving him time away from the classroom when his anxiety is high, but are giving him cards for misbehaving.  He has been given In School Suspension several times for drumming and the teacher is trying to keep him from biting his nails by putting hand santizer on his fingers (which is making him sick).  He has alot of problems with taste and smell of certain things.  My daughter just recently went over the IEP which the school has now decided to change to show that the child can self-medicate by controlling the drumming and nail biting by himself.  My daughter ask them to reinstate the IEP like it was previously and that the teacher give him something to keep him occupied so he will not drum.  One week after the IEP conference and he has already been given two episodes of ISS; one for drumming - 1 day of ISS and the other for disrupting the class, because a little girl grabbed his pencil he was drumming with and threw it across the room and he yelled at her; for which he got 2 days of ISS.  The principal never contacted the parents.  He told the child that he could tell his mom; that he didn't have to call or talk to her.  What can be done.  After 5 yrs with his school, she is giving up hope of anything being done to help him.

Down syndrome please help - Felisha - Mar 20th 2014

My son is 13 has downs and every since I put him in school the school has called dhs on me 48 times it never stays open they already come out and close it recently he had open heart surgery and a stent they harassed me to send him back to school this week only too call dhs again bc he had a accident in his pants while at school he hates school for a reason I can't get any help with what I need to do his doctors will stand by me but the school keeps on it's like they have something against me and my child they love calling dhs on me please please help

Downs Syndrome Child Physically Abused - april gallant - Jan 27th 2014

My son John has Downs Syndrome, and he was physically abused by a teachers assistant in our local school system. When he didnt want to do what the aid wanted him to do, which was leave the gym, she shoved him  down to the ground by pushing on his shoulder, then he still didnt want to move and started to yell about it, so she pulled him back to his feet by his hair. Now i was not present to witness these actions, but i was informed of it by other students that seen it happen. When I took the problem to the board of education they said that they would look into the situation, and nothing was ever done about it. I dont know where to turn, I have 5 children and a very limited income, and cannot afford to hire an attorney to handle the situation. I am at a dead end with it, the school system thinks its ok for them to have teachers in the school that verbally and physically abuse the children, and dont want to fire them, because it would cost more for them to fire them because they have tenyor. The school system in Bucyrus, Ohio sucks...

duchenne musclar dystophy son - michelle cain - Apr 23rd 2013

Hello my name is michelle cain. my 12 yr old son chance has duchenne musclar dystophy. on the 26th of march he came home with a black eye and 2 hand print bruises on his arm. we call the principal and he cant give us any answers on how it hapened. a week later he came home with another hand print bruise. we have called the police and CPS and the DA. we still havent got any answers. i took our son out of school and is now home schooling him. he is doing and learning alot more at home then at school.

thank you for listening

michelle cain

 

Autism / Improper Restraint - Cristine Pluntz - Apr 15th 2013

My 8 year old autistic daughter was improperly restrained and dragged down the school hallway by an untrained and a trained staff by her WRISTS in front of her peers and left lying in the doorway to the time out room. Her pants were pulled partly down on one side and a shoe was off. The emotional , financial after effect still devastates our family 7 months later. Nothing was done to the staff that did this.This madness NEEDS TO STOP! There are over 200 others that I know of that have had horrible things happen to their children. 

ADHD and Middle Public School - - Feb 24th 2013

My son has ADHD plus ODD and within weeks gets detention and finally got suspended for taking a personal item from a teacher, and you would think the school would call my wife and I into school and talk about the problem, "No", they don't care that he has ADHD and in front of almost thirty students the school sends a sheriff into the classroom to pick up my son instead of sending someone from the office to get him. My son is under a psychologist and a psychiatrist care and they totally ignored his problem and just keep punishing him and now our doctor told us that he should not return to the school because he will be bullied.

 

I am fed up with my son, be emotionally abused at school because he is ADHD - Kim - Apr 20th 2012

My son has ADHD with conclusive disorder, for 3 years now the school in which he attends has be emotionally hurting my son to the point he comes home crying and does not want to attend school any more. Today, the principle cursed him saying gets the "hell out of here and told him, he could not come back to school. The first half of the year his math teacher, kicked his book bag across the room, and told him his house must be fill with rats. He has been to shut the f**k-up, he trying answer question in class. I have even had other children to come back a tell me, that my son's teacher treat him bad. I have even been told that by the formal Superintendent why did I bring my problems (my other son as asperger, a form of autism to his school district. I am a single mother, with very little support from my family or friends. Can someone help me concerning how my child is being treated at school?

My child has been restrained and put in seclusion repeatedly - Karen - Apr 11th 2012

My now 8 yr. old specail ed. son has been restrained and put in seclusion repeatedly for having signs of autisim. He has been put in restraints to where he can't breath and put in seclusion so many times that he thinks he's dumb now.. I have written letters, gotten an advocate and attended all IEP meetings also got him a phsy..Getting him the right dionise has been hard because of how the school labled him..it's made out that he is a bad kid with a bad parent and thats not ture.my son had good grades i made for damn sure I was there to help him with his home work every single night..I dont drink or do drugs and teach my kid how to behave..But this child abuse he has being going through has gotten way out of hand..So I took my son out of tht school sent them a letter stating why, called and emailed my dept. of education, sent letter to states attourny..AND GUESS WHAT HAPPENS....The school files a cps complaint on me for education negelect..btw my state dont have open enrollment what the hell is a parent to do when their child is being abused at school from school staff so bad that he begs me not to make him go back to school and he says "well their going to kill me anyway" and having nightmare of them not letting him out of the seclusion room?????? sorry for typos

infuruated - Michelle - Mar 21st 2012

I'm also outraged with the fact that teachers only have to have 6 CEU hours every 5 years to renew their liscence....., leaving the teacher to decide on what they want to take/refresh. I find in concerning that MOST teachers are teaching for a LONG period of time, and how can a veteran teacher know how to deal with some of these new diagnoses ie: autism when it has made media in last 10-15 years???? And know how to deal with it, if been a teacher for 20-25 years with NO training????

Parent - Jaye - Mar 5th 2012

I am interested in talking to other parents about their experiences with the educational systems.  I have a chld that was abused at the hands of her/his teacher

My son and his bullying school staff - Tonya Johnson - Jan 29th 2012

My son attends a middle school in TN. Since I broadcasted bullying at his school in Oct. of 2011, he had been suspended several times. Been put in ISS for weeks at a time for what they say was his safety. Been suspended from the bus, and kicked out of school. The assistant principle said in an IEP meeting that he did refuse my child school, and the main principle told him he would get out of his school. Teachers have searched him like a prisoner, went in the bathroom looking at him, and just agging stuff on with him. He is a special needs child with emotional disturbance disorder and you can not yell at him or touch him in a threatening way. I am almost out of options since he has been sent to an alternative school due to bringing up his grades and for being disrespectful. I have been fighting this for months but can get nothing done. Is there anyone out there that can help me in any way. I work all day the have IEP meetings without me, they say he cant talk in his meetings and alot of other things. I have all documentation proving my allegations of this said situation and now I am just looking for answers, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

An outcry for our special need students in school - ladynell - Jan 12th 2012

Since my oldest child, diagnosed with adjustment disorder of her mood and conduct, was in first grade failing, I pleaded with the 1st grade team that help was needed.  My child was denied Special Education and I was told she needed to do the work. I was also told I needed to medicate her.  At that time I didn’t know nor understood much about my children’s educational rights.  That was 5 years ago.  In second grade because I complained so much about her grades, they finally put her in Special Education, but would not listen to my complaints of her seeming to have learning problems.  She was diagnosed with Dyslexia from her intermediated school (same district) a few months ago.  I am a parent of Special needs students in the public school system.  The issues I deal with daily puts a huge bite in our family, causing my life to be overwhelmed and uncomfortable.  Now my youngest child, who is diagnosed with ADHD, have been complaining to me since last school year that his teachers are mistreating him by depriving him from eating, threatening to hurt me or send me to jail if he tells me anything or he don't lie for them that I'm a bad and abusive parent, making him miss recess and specials, hitting, pushing, shoving, dragging, even throwing and hitting him in the head with a shoe.  Worse of all, he comes home almost daily telling me they give him medicine to make him either do what they say or worse, act bad so I can medicate him, while they complain negatively about his defiant behaviors and out of control abuse he causes upon them and other students.  At first it was hard for me to believe, because my child is extremely hyper and can get out of control sometimes:  but I have never really saw my child aggressive.  I do believe the school is altering his behaviors with some type or form of unknown herbal medication.  Doctors tell me I should see these signs at home, but I don’t and neither does others when he goes off with them except his normal ADHD behaviors.  His IQ in kindergarten was of a 12 year old:  now his grades have been up and down failing many times since last school year.  Other parents have complained, but they too have no hope.  I am very concern and feel there definitely needs to be a great outcry for Special need students in America’s public schools:  any school.  My child’s principal blames me for his behaviors and failures, when they are the ones who suppose to be trained and are being paid to teach and educate my children.  Now because I advocate for my children’s education to protect them the best way I can, I believe a lot of his abuse from his teachers is retaliation.  I don’t understand how parents can be sentence to jail and children taken right away if one word of abuse comes out of their child’s mouths, but yet it will actually take someone to videotape an abuse incident before something is done to prove a school staff or teacher is guilty.  I believe this issue is a constant growing problem, and something needs to be done immediately.  The children are not with-it students, and so they are left behind and also mistreated because of their disabilities.  In my children school district, they rather called students defiant instead of saying it’s their disability that needs work on so they can be trained in the classroom.  Parents have to make appointments to observe our children in the classroom, and an administrator must be present with us as we watch for a few minutes outside of the classroom.  I’ve reported my child’s complaints to local authorities, his doctors, counselors, CPS, and even T.E.A.  As stated about the teacher release for abusing her student, nothing was done.  My child always comes home with unexplained bruises:  no report, yet I’m told nothing happen.  I have tons of documentations as well as photos and videos of my child reporting to me what happened and unexplained marks on his body.  Even other students have reported to me concerning my child being mistreated at school.  I had a 4th grader tell me I needed to be concern how my child was mistreated by one of his teachers this school year.  I have been crying out for help since my oldest was in 1st grade.  She won’t even discuss her trauma from this same school that my youngest now attends.  If people (parents) would wake up and start crying out for help in multitudes, then will we be heard and become the voices for our children. 

Abused in Arkansas - Allan N. Schwartz, Phd - Nov 3rd 2011

Any child who complains about being hit or sexually approached by a teacher should be taken seriously. Most definitely, it is up to parents to take action. In addition, win or lose, the child should be transferred to another school to avoid potential harassment from other teachers or students.

At least, this is my opinion. What do all of you think?

Dr. Schwartz

Abused in Arkansas by special ed teacher - - Nov 3rd 2011

Back in the late 70's, I was abused physically, verbally and emotionally by nearly all of my teachers from grade 1 to grade 6..and especially by the special education teacher..who I tried to numberous times to complain to the other teachers and even to my father, who all of them just dismissed as a "child being a chronic liar"...It was not until my older brother told my father that the teacher had hit me in the head 3 times..then my dad believed it!..long story short, he confronted the teacher at the school in front of the principal , and she admitted to the assault...my dad filed a lawsuit against the school board, but they settled out of court for a very small amount of money...but no jail time , no fine..no apology, no justice!!..I got major hell from there after!..

My advice to parents is to PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR KIDS!..Please take them seriously when they complain to you about a teacher..I remember telling my dad the teachers would touch me...yet, he ignored it...thinking it was all "made-up"...Any good parent will take ANY complaint seriously and then act on it...even getting law enforcement involved and then an attorney..had my dad listened to me from the very start..I think the abuse would have stopped much sooner ..Thank you.

We just went through some of the same stuff this last school year - Tina Myatt - Sep 3rd 2011

My son is an 8yr. old autistic boy who use to love going to school everyday because he was blessed to have incredible teachers for his pre k d and k years. The special needs class he was in the second year he would have stayed in til 3rd grade, but that wonderful teacher got a new job teaching special needs pre k kids. The begining of first grade started out with a teacher that had been shuffled from many schools for abuse and other problems she had. My child, after two days of school started coming home a different person, screaming non-stop, on edge, throwing, pinching, hitting, crying, not sleeping at night, wetting himself and the floor. My son had gone backwards about 3-4yrs, it took a week for me to find out it was the teacher. I began going to the class and staying there all day long to watch what was going on, and got a petition signed by all parents letting them know what was going on, and what I was observing, since they worked and couldn't be there to see themselves, all of them reported the same changes in their kids. I found out a week later she had been spraying my son down like an animal to keep him quiet (which she knew he hated his clothes wet), and pinching him, yelling profusely at all of them silencing all of their curiosities, no sounds or movements were to be made in that classroom, because as she put it, they gave Ms. K a headache. She sat them at carpet time the entire day except for 1hr of each day, the ones that could tell their parents were telling them they were bored and scared. She had my son in the bathroom screaming many times whenever his one on one aide was on lunch break. I was preparing my letters and petition when I had a phone call from another mother telling me what her son told her, then I called my son's aide and she told me that the teacher leaped across the room when she wanted to take steven out to get him away from the chaotic classroom and that horrible teacher, she straddled him like a horse while the aide and the speech therapist stand there in horror for him, because they loved these kids, he was crying and trying to get out from under her , and she weighs like 266pds. She grabbed his hands, pinched his arms and was screaming at him and screaming at his aide to go get her one friend in the whole school to come down so she could write up a report that he was doing this and she had to restrain him. I called the Head of the school board that night and left a message finished my letter with all the details late into that night, kept him home, faxed it to the principal and head of school board, the only reason they didn't think it was a bunch of complaining parents is because my son's aide and that speech therapist who cried at home that night from what they saw her do to my son for no reason, went to the principal that morning and told her everything that they saw and that it was not the correct way they were trained and wasn't called for. The left the teacher in there another week, while me and another mother took turns that week staying there to make sure she didn't harm any children, then all they did was move her across the hall. I should have been able to file charges against her for child abuse and she should never be able to work in the school system with another child again.

omg - michelle - Aug 27th 2011

im going though this right now with the schools with me son and im at a lost!

Vaccine Injury - There is HOPE - Horrified Mother of a vaccine injured child - May 16th 2011

I am utterly HORRIFIED reading all of this.  How many of these children with this alphabet soup of (bs) diagnosis are VACCINE INJURED?

1.  HOME SCHOOL - is the immediate option.  Tap into that community and you can save your children.

2. RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE... please learn the truth... Start with the book by David Kirby - Evidence of Harm... there have been many books written by Physician parents in the past 10 years... pick it up and you will breath for the first time since your child was born.

3.  www.generationrescue.org  - get a rescue angel in your area

 

Verbal Abuse by Special Ed. Teacher - - Jan 29th 2011

My eleven-year-old daughter is microcephalic and learning disabled.  She is repeatedly berated, insulted, mocked, and humiliated about her learning disabilities in front of her classmates by her special ed. teacher. The teacher also shouts in her face until she cries. Her school denies that this is happening.  My state is a two party wiretap law state which means that if I record the verbal abuse without the teacher's permission, I have committed a felony.  Please, please, advise on what agency might be willing to help stop this teacher's verbal abuse to help my frightened daughter that now intensely hates school. pnedvedova@yahoo.com

duped at the ARD meeting - - Dec 7th 2010

Thanks very much for you advice, Susan.

Do you have any idea about the specific section of federal law which says I can withdraw my approval and invoke the "Stay Put" option?

I have requested the school to amend my son's records (according to "Notice of Procedural Safeguards"), but they insist that I need to have an ARD meeting to discuss that.

Yes, I live in the states.

Thanks again.

IEP can easily be changed by parent and approval withdrawn - Susan Lawrence - Dec 6th 2010

To the parent duped by the IEP team - your approval of services can be withdraws just as easy as it was tricked out of you. (Assuming this is a US issue) The IEP is not a document approved and then carved in stone for the year. Just send a note to school stating you were misled by the IEP team and now withdraw your approval for the change in OT/PT services for your child and you are invoking the "stay put" option which, by federal law, means the last approved set of services must continue while the dispute is resolved. Also check out wrightslaw.com, an amazing free resource. The IEP is an ever changing document and you have the power to approve or disapprove any part of that document. You also have a great case for a state and federal complaint, including Office of Civil Rights, against that school system. If I can help in anyway, let me know.

 (540) 458-1245 - Susan

duped at ARD meeting - - Nov 29th 2010

At my son's last ARD meeting, the school wanted to cut his PT and OT hours. I disagreed and asked for evaluations. I stated that without evaluations they lack data to validate the cut of hours. The school agreed to do evauluations. At the end of the meeting, I asked:"Will the PT and OT hours be kept the same?" They said yes. They gave me the signature page to sign at the end of the meeting. The IEP documents were sent to me later. Later when I checked the documents, I found that the PT and OT hours have been cut from the day of the ARD meeting. The hours have not remained the same as last year's. I asked why and was told that I agreed to the cut at the ARD meeting.

The meeting was taped, so I listened to the tape. It seems that the school had taken advantage of my inexperience and duped me to sign. At the start of the meeting, I said clearly that I disagree with the cut of hours. I said they need evaluations to validate the cut. The mistake that I made was that at the end of the meeting, when I asked if the hours would remain the same, I did not mention the hours for last year. But nobody at that meeting said:"We will give him the evaluations, but we are going to cut the hours from now on anyways." Another strange thing is that the schedule of service was not read out at the meeting, so I had no idea the hours they put on the paper was different from what I thought.

I feel really bad about myself. Why have I been so gullible? Why hadn't I asked to review the documents at the end of the meeting? Why hadn't I specified the hours when I asked them if the hours would remain the same? If I am so stupid, how can I advocate for my son?

 

 

 

 

ADHD Son - Gerald McCracken - Oct 22nd 2010

I have a son who is ADHD.  He is very sensitive about that label and would object to my speaking about his situation.  It is so sad because he wants to be treated like everyone else.  He is very bright and a handsome, healthy young man.  He went to private school up through near the end of sixth grade.  He talked, squirmed, tapped and was disruptive.  Private school was not required to make any accommodations but some teachers were excellent with him while others basically abused him, were annoyed by him, criticized him and made it obvious they had no knowledge of how to educate and ADHD child.  We moved him to public school.  His self esteem was already suffering and we had no idea how big a mistake we had made.  We found that although the public schools are "required" to provide an education for special needs children there are many ways they can work the system and your child will suffer greatly.  We ask for a 504 plan in the spring of 2009.  After we did much prodding and made many complaints, after we notified the Office of Civil Rights in Washington DC and after many incidents involving my son and mistreatment of my son by the school staff and resource officer, my son received a token 504 plan in February of 2010.  My son was investigated and a police report was filed because his teacher misunderstood a comment he made.  My son was suspended and arrested over a class room discipline issue.  After numerous complaints and interviews with school officials, I have come to numerous dead ends and unwillingness on the part of the school staff or school district to admit any wrong doing or to correct any of the false statements written in his discipline reports.  Everyday I took my son (he was 12 years old at that time) to school, I expected a phone call that he was going to in-school detention or maybe being suspended, expelled or arrested. I always felt that he was not safe at the school. I did try to improve his safety.  I knew that he could be punched, harassed, bullied and made fun of by other students but my greatest fear was how he might be victimized or criminalized by the school staff and the school resource officer.  I have stayed on course and have not given up the battle to get someone who can make a difference to notice and care about how these children are being treated by the public school system.  I am now, after exhausting almost every other possibility, considering contacting an attorney.  My son is in Charter School now and they are doing OK with him at this point, but he is starting to get into trouble for talking and being late for class.  Honestly, most teachers seem untrained on how to educate ADHD children and unwilling to deal with them in the classroom.  One major advantage to the Charter School is no resource officer.  I would a thousand times rather deal with the remote possibility that a shooter would enter the school and kill my son than the constant fear that the resource officer will arrest him for a school discipline issue. I felt safe in school when I was a child and my parents knew that the teachers would teach me, discipline me and ensure I safely returned to their care.  I don't ever remember the police being in our school.  We were children and you don't use the criminal justice system to handle school discipline issues. We have gone from "short bus" days and the self-esteem issues that came from special needs children being treated as mentally retarded to putting them in the main stream with no means or willingness to educate them and a zero tolerance policy that puts these hyperactive children in a zero chance situation. I have known since I was a child that children have no rights and can be charged, tried and incarcerated until they are 18 for committing a crime that would result in a fine for an adult or be thrown out of court for lack of evidence. Today the fact that our children have no rights has provided a means for our school staff and resource officers to deal with an unwanted problem, our special needs children.  My son and my family have suffered greatly over the last year and it should be obvious that I am upset about what has happened.  I am angry and I am also determined.  I have believed that right would stand and wrong would fail but I am a lot disillusioned.  I am asking for help and I have not given up.  If you have knowledge and experience dealing with such problems please share it with me.  I am tired of going it alone.

restraint - b.o - Oct 1st 2010

my son was put in a heavy vest for moving around to much and I didn't find out for a month. they didn't get are permission to do it!

Need to talk to mentally abused teacher! - Karen B - Jul 18th 2010

Please, please can you put me in touch with the sp ed teacher who was abused?  I have a worse scenario and need some support.

Torture - Karen Eltman - Jul 6th 2010

  My son is a 6 year old mentaly and physically challenged boy.  He was born an average baby but was severly beaten and shaken at 10 monthes.  Yes, we are the adoptive parents.  We have adopted 5 special needs children over the past 4 years and are awaiting the 6th.  Even though we say we are finished, the phone always rings again with another beaten child turned into an outcast by their injuries.  I am very protective of these jewels as the world around us seems to either not understand them or is discusted by them. Instead of letting strangers make educational and developmental choices for my kids, I find I would rather hire and fire thier therapist and medical professionals myself.  I home school all 6 childeren again but this was not always the case. 

  Because of my sons brain injury he can be very defiant and impulsive.  He is not malicious and is generally a very happy child.  However, Last December I threw up my hands and screamed for help.  The task of educating all special childern with no aid, kitchen staff ,or bus service was daunting and unrealistic.

   My son started attending Wayne Highlands Life Skills Kindergarten class in March of 2010.  My son is on a special diet due to gastric problems and we asked that he not be given any food other than what we provide.  Severe direah and crampng soon tormented my son.  On approaching the teacher we discovered she openly admitted that she provided him with food of which we did not approve and had the nerve to in turn admonish us for not letting him fit in with other children.  After several letters were written explaining that we were the parents following both common sence and doctors advise we felt that Kindergarten teachers should stick to shapes, colors,etc.  and not pretend to know more than his Gastro. the matter was put to rest in May.

  At 2:00 on June the 2ond my husband took a call from the school nurse explaining that his brace had worn a blister on his foot.  My husband instructed the nurse to put the brace in his backpack and let him finish the day in shoes and socks.  Not another thought of the matter occupied us as growing boys out grow braces too often.

  The horror of the situation struck when my son came out of the school van crying with his foot bare.  The driver stated that he cried the whole trip and attempted to remove his shoe. When she stoped to examine the situation she was shoked to see such a large burn on the sole of his foot.

   My son did not have a friction blister, he had a 2ond degree burn the size and shape of a pencil transversing the width of his foot and overlaping on to the side of his foot. When asked all he coherently stated was that he was "fired".  He also admitted to killing JFK.  We weren't making progress with our questoning so I called our socialworker and his ex social worker from CPS.  We were instructed to take him to the emergency room and call CPS to make a complaint.  we recieved no more contact from the school that day.  There was no explanaion or appologies offered.

  We had my son in the car, with calls made, pictures of his burn taken, and seeking medical attention within 20 min. of his arrival from school.  No medical treatment was given or offered at school. My husband called the school nurse on day 2 of "The Incident"  and discovered that the nurse was concerned that he recieve medical attention and agreed that it was a burn.  Upon questioning why she lied to us, she replied that she was told by the teacher to tell us it was a friction blister . The stentch of the situation was growing more pungent by the hour.  The principal soon called and appologised for the burn (never giving an excuse or reason) and hoped he would return to school soon.

  After 2 days of debate the reported burn case went to CPS not the DA.  The caseworker interviewed our family and asured us that the school would tell her what happened because she could indicate for child abuse on neglect alone but the DA and State Troopers would have a much harder time of it in criminal court.  The school at this piont maintains that they have no understanding how such an accident could have happened and refused to let us speak with the teacher.  Interestingly, the aid declaired that he arrived at school with no injury.  She knows this because she adjusted his brace after he arrived at school.

   The case worker left our home and was met at the school doors by the school attourney.  He directed the caseworker back to her supervisor as he moved the case to the DA's office and everyone at school was instructed to keep silent. We hired our family attorney to advocate for my son through this process.  The case was dead and we recieved the royal run-around from the DA's office.  We turned our attentions to the State Trooper investigating and no one knew of the case.  My son's advocate called around and found the case file in another town in the wrong department!  Once moved to the proper detective doctor reports and the pictures I made were sent to forensics in another state.  The detective wants to know what burned my son before he questions the school staff.  We finally feel as if the matter is being handled with the weight the situation dmands.  We have no hope of criminal punishment for the torture of my son.  If noone reveils anything and the school stays tight-lipped there is no provable crime.

We have more than enough to take this to civil court.

My son was beaten and left for dead at 10 monthes

My son has to grow up mentaly and physicaly impaired

My son was tortured at school and no one but his family cares

My son must have screamed for 20 min. after a burn like that.  Did they console him or crank up the fire?

We are mandated by penalty of incarceration to give our children to the schools, even homeschooling in our state is supervised by the local district, but we have no recourse when they abuse or torture our kids. 

They havn't seen nor heard the last of me.  If we have to march on Washington and tell our story a thousand times finally finding one sympathetic ear,  we will not be silenced by the aparthid goverment called public schools.

Mental abuse of special needs students - Mentally abused teacher - Jun 17th 2010

I am a Special Educator in the public school systems and it is unfair that all teachers are classified as not doing their jobs in this field. I am dedicated to my students who have specific learning disabilities. They are placed in classes with Regular Education students for inclusion purposes, but they are hampered by these students who were misbehaving in the classrooms. The principal at my school had control of the funds that were designated for Special Education students and they were not used to assist the students. The Special Education staff was cut so the students were not properly serviced. There were no material for the students to use. The Special Education teachers had to spend their own money to provide services to the students. Money is being abused by some of the school leaders it is a moral sin for people to abuse children in this way. I believe that the government should be able to monitor the spending of Special Education funds and hold the persons responsible for abusing the situation. Some Special Education students are performing better that the Regular Education students, but they are being held back in order for the leader to collect money under false pretenses.

Restraint & Seclusion in Schools - Anna - Apr 21st 2010

I am in Florida & sued for the restraint abuse of my then 7 year old son. I sued & they settled...... Without Laws it's very hard to hold anyon accountable.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3BqIQStnws&feature=related

There are no laws to protect our children. HR 4247 passed & now we need SB2860 to pass & then we will have a Federal Law. It will have minimal language but it's a start & it isnt dangerous like the state Bills that are starting to come out. Florida has a State Bill that will put our children in worse danger then they already are. We must all support SB2860 our children need this Bill to pass. Call your Senators today & tell them to support this Bill. I made a video that everyone needs to watch & please send to everyone:

America's Forgotten Children http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyTfOnPLnSM

The abuse of a child in school - diana brockert - Apr 12th 2010

 My son is now 21 years old. He is physically and mentally impaired. At the age of 16 he started crying when ever school was mentioned. With numerous visits to his school I was told nothing happened it was probably school phobia.  Months later he was still out of school with no answers. After 6 months is was brought to our attention that another student had been abused. The teacher confessed to slightly slapping the child. The mother had photos of her son with hand marks around his neck. Badly bruised parents went to attorneys and was told becaue our children were nonverbal there was no way to convict. I live in macomb mi and in the past 3 years have learned of at least 6 physical and sexual abuse going on. If there are any parents from this area that suspect  abuse please contact me by e-mail. bless you Diana

baltimore wins as plantif in isolation issues for disabled children - Rita Wahle - Apr 2nd 2010

After five years of litigation, Attorny Leslie Seid Margolis, for the Maryland Disability Legal Advocate.

Please see article in the Baltimore Sun.  Unfortunately I do not have the publication date.

Bravo, Bravo

Rita Wahle

770 Salisbury St.

Worcester, MA 01609

508 797 9047

Behind closed doors of a recognized school and its district! - shennel - Mar 26th 2010

My children attends a district that does not want to accept that children with ADHD has a disability.  Their only method of dealing with these children is medication.  Since my oldest, now 9,was in school, I have fight with the school concerning how my children are mistreated through disciplinary action taken against them due to their disabilities.  They both are in Special Ed:  diagnosis, 1 with adjustment disorder of mood and conduct, and the other ADHD.  I have been in ARD meetings where I was threatened and intimidated by school officials.  When I called CPS on the school last year concerning a teacher who shoved my youngest, now 7, the case in both the school and CPS was dismissed due to my child not able to identify the teacher.  What they failed to do was asked my oldest and the friend who the teacher was.  They too saw the incident when the teacher shoved my child.  I was called for almost a month everyday by 3 or 4 staff members on a daily day concerning the same issue from my child's behavior.  I was told by an advocate the school's job was to emotional pressured me to the point I became angry enough to medicate my child.  I got scared because I was told by another advocate just like I have a right not to medicate my child, the school has a right to say my child can't be taught and they could kick my child out of school.  So I did what I was against:  medicated him.  I am so tire and frustrated to the point I'm not sleeping and blood pressure is constantly rising from actions behind what the school does.  I'm told by TEA that when an ARD meeting is scheduled, the school has to ensure a time is agreeable for both parties.  The school sent home a letter stating I have to set a time during the teacher conference period.  But TEA told me I don't have to agree to that time if it's not convenient enough for me.  The school is aware of my transportation situation:  i told them because i have to rent a car to come to the meeting, the only time I can come is between 10:30 and 1!  They refused to scheduled the meeting during these times because it's not during the teacher's conference. Since I have started advocating for my children, the school has given me such a hard time as a partner in my children's education and even as a parent.  Nothing I request is accepted, even though it might be in the best interest of my children educational and disability needs.  Other parents are complainting about the same issues:  how the district handles children with emotional and behavioral disabilities.  I've called the district, the special ed department in the district, called TEA, and even the Office of Civil Rights.  If it's not according the the IEP/BIP there is no complaint to be filed.  It's hear-say, which is the kids words against the school, and in most cases, the school wins.  Because there is no solid evidence, proof, or witness in most cases, any complaint my children have gets dismissed and thrown to the curved.  My youngest say kids talks about him and mistreats him while some of the teachers watch, and they do nothing.  But the monent he does something, he gets in trouble.  For a whole week he sat at the discipline table in the cafeteria.  He asked me how come he has to sat a long time but other kids doesn't?   I don't know what to do, and there are a lot of parents in my shoes who does not know what to do to protect our children from these provoking kinds of abuse from teachers, staff and even students in which teachers allow sometimes to bully them to provoke.  My child is looked upon as a bad child! The school addresses the academic level, but as far as the discipline they rather not deal with.  I do wish I could take them both out and be paid to teach them myself.  Then the school want ever have to worry about my children's behavior again.  Maybe that's what parents need:  granted funds to be certified then paid to teach our own children with support.  If schools don't want our children, then give them to us.  I'm trying to file a complaint, which I believe is discrimination agaist my children's disability and emotional distress for me, but I don't know how, and after talking with Office of Civil Rights for Education, I have no case against the school because there is no grounds to stand on to enforce the school to be responsible for what is hear-say.  Somebody please help:  please, please help!  A 9th grader was suspended from school because of an action the school took:  the incident aired on Fox 4 news concerning the child accused of giving another student drugs.  Come to found out, it was a pair of earrings, mistakenly accused by an administrative staff.  The student said the officer threw him to the ground:  the student ended up being put in handcuffs and even pepper sprayed.  He suffered from ADHD!  His mother's most concern was her child being hyper because he suffer from ADHD, a disability the school does not want to accept.  When I shared this with the person from Office of Civil Rights, she told me it had nothing to do with my complaint concerning the school.  But it does:  mostly how the school handle my child's behavior even though he's on an IEP/BIP.  When he was off his patch for 3 weeks, his behavior got out of hand.  According to the school, he was defiant, a word they use with most children with behavioral problems.  I alarmed the teacher in writing in advance that my child will be off meds for up to 3 weeks.  They said they did all they can do, but they never allow me to add other accommodations to help my child be skilled trained concerning his behavior.  Anyway, every day my child was off of meds, i recieved bad reports with no stickers.  When I tried to explain to the principal that my child's behavioral was due to his ADHD (disability)  her remarks was she work with many children with ADHD.  She had told my child they was doing a behavioral contract in which my child had to sign and followed.  What if he can't?  I know the doctors and his counselors told me he understands the behavior, but he just don't know how to stop himself due to the ADHD.  So trying to explain this to the principal got me nowhere.  After spring break, he was back on his meds and have gotten a sticker every day which proves it was his behavior.  What is a parent to do when we have ran out of ideas and sources for help.  My children still suffers when they can't follow rules due to their disability.  My story is so broad and goes back 4 years, it's too long to tell on paper.  Our story needs to be heard, and something need to be done.  School systems need to be investigated when a complain from a child is reported as abuse just like a parent or others.  It need to  be taken very seriously, because children are suffering, not learning, and in many cases dieing.  Thanks for listening:  I wish I could get the president or someone in congress to do the same. 

6 year old son with multiple disabilities - David martinez - Mar 23rd 2010

 My name is CW2 (P), I have been in Ft Carson for roughly 3 months, I am assigned to the 704th BSB Rear Det. 4-4BCT 4ID, I live on family housing, I have a 6 year old son with an abundance of special needs and my wife's name is Cathy Martinez.

One of the problems I am having is with the Patriot Elementary and district 8 personnel. Bottom line is after weeks of observing how the school and district continuously ignores our sons need and civil rights I was told by my attorney that the school and district is planning to put a restraining order against me. The reason I was given is that the paraprofessionals feel threatened with my constant presence in the classroom. 

You may ask why my wife and I are at the school most of the day, we have a 6 year old son with  multiple disabilities including  autism, mental retardation,  no verbal communication, neurological disorders, prone to seizures, multiple allergies, poor balance and prone to injuries due to falling, no protecting reactions, cognitive abilities of a 3 year old.

Some of the concerns are but are not limited to;

 

 

1. Josue is Goes to Music on random days according to his educational programming there was an incident last month in which he was excluded from participating with his peers in a public performance. When my wife asked his teacher, his paraprofessional, nobody had an answer as of why. The principal stated that because the staff was human a mistake was made and it would not happen again. Our son was discriminated against, he cannot tell us how good or bad his needs are being addressed he is human also.  When my wife Cathy asked the principal to provide written reason of the incident he gave her a paper with a sentence that read “this will not happened again. No apology or comment of how bad he felt his staff acted so heartless against our son.

 

2. Every morning when Josue arrives he is immediately sat down and given the same book while other students are permitted to wonder and choose a

different activity every day during their breaks. The same goes for after

recess and between activities or tasks.

 

3. When we had our ARD (IEP) meeting, total communication was the chosen

language that Josue would be spoken to, instructed and or taught. This was

to be used during all activities, transitions or when services where

provided (OT, PT, SP,) recess, P.E., music, computer tech and lunch. We

provided a list of signs that Josue was already exposed so that every one

that came in contact with him could use. We would like the total

communication to be used at all times our son is in your campus.

 

4. The fidget that he is supposed to use per his IEP is now being used as a

reward during breaks. Other students have their own fidget all day. I asked

about this, (Mrs. Traci) told me that she was told that since the incident

at the bowling alley, Josue was not allowed his fidget. We have no knowledge

of any incident happening at the bowling alley. Catherine was there and not

one single person told her that something had happen. In any case we would

like for him to have his fidget back as the IEP states.

 

5. ASL training was one of the requirements for the paraprofessional that

would be with Josue. Several days Josue would try and communicate

unsuccessfully with the paraprofessionals he has been assigned. We would like

the paraprofessional to be able to communicate with him not for our benefit

but for his needs. ASL is his only communication method and should be used

as a check on learning and understanding during the day instead of the

current method of one way. Examples are; asking for water, to use the

toilet, showing pain or discomfort, asking for a fidget, asking for his

mother or father.

 

6. The work area where Josue does his work has been getting more isolate in

the past weeks to the point that he currently is completely blocked from his

peers. We would like the desk blinds that were used in the beginning of the

IEP implementation to be put back in place instead of the foam mattress that

now shuns him from the rest of the class. Cathy will speak about this in

more detail with you tomorrow.

 

7. Josue has this clumsy way of standing and sitting on floor, both the

school and outside PTs have recommended a specific way to help him develop a

safer way to accomplish both tasks. We would like all personnel that will be

assigned to help him make this transitions to be trained and implement them

every time as necessary.

 

8. Josue has a self stimulating behavior or putting his thumb in his mouth. We have observed that the use of the phrase “hands down” has become the only means of trying to stop that behavior. We have even seen the use of the phrase “hands down” when he has not put his hand is mouth. We want this stopped immediately, is ok to randomly block his hand or replace his hand with his fidget to minimize this behavior. We do not want a constant use of that phrase or any other similar phrase as the sole means of redirecting his attention. Cathy will talk to you more about what his ABA therapist recommends and has worked in the past.

 

 

Our son does not speak and has cognitive levels of a 3 year old. During the almost two months our son has been at Patriot Elementary the paraprofessional that is assigned to help him throughout the day has changed 6 times without any formal training being conducted between changes. What does this continues changes do to a student that has multiple disabilities including, autism, mental retardation, no speech, poor socialization skills and several behavioral disorders. Our son is exhibiting even more behavioral problems, has regressed socially and absolutely does not want to be in school. When I attempted to speak with the district 8 superintendent, he would not return my calls; I have exchanged a substantial amount of email with him but have not been able to reach an agreement. I even hired an attorney for a week and fired her this morning after she told me that she would not fight the district over an ethical dilemma.

You tell me, what would you say if your son’s or daughter’s teacher changed 6 times within the last month? What would you say if you were told that you would get a restraining order against entering your son’s or daughter’s campus because your presence there makes the staff uncomfortable?

 

The district just sent me a letter this weekend  asically telling me unannounced visits are not permitted. I am sure this violates SEC 504. If anyone in Colorado Springs know a good aggresive lawyer, please contact me. wfoh8x9@msn.com

Thanks

Abuse in Special Ed classes - Tina - Mar 16th 2010

I have a severly  non verbal autistic child. Last school year I noticed that the teacher was mistreating him. I wrote several letters requesting reassignment of my son  and many meetings were held with the special needs department in an attempt to address my concerns and theirs. My son's assistant came forward to me and the special ed dept and admitted the mistreatment of my son by the teacher. Still nothing was done. The school district would not acknowledge the abuse, however, they never admitted or denied it.

An incident happened towards the end of the school year that caused me to remove my son from the school. They denied abuse in the incident and refused to reassign my son. I did not return him to school and stated that I would never return him to that teacher. We were then notified that my son was reassigned to this teacher for the following school year. We took the school district to Due Process and lost. THey stated that we could not prove abuse since the assistant that had previously admitted the abuse denied it under oath. It should be noted that the assistant was transfered to another school immediately following my removal of my son from school.

The Hearing Officer ordered my son back into that same teacher's class. We would not return him and he has been out of school all year.

There were other issues and allegations involved in the due process complaint including many procedural violations. We lost on every count even though it seemed we proved those violations. It has been over five months since the hearing and we are still in a battle to be provided with a copy of the transcript of the hearing that was our right under IDEA law.

I am beyond words that any human being would order a student back into a class with a teacher that the parents believe abused him. Especially a student that is non verbal and cannot communicate the abuse in words. My son did communicate the abuse in actions and we had experts testify to this, however it made no difference. I have to wonder if the Hearing Officer and all the school personnel involved would feel the same way if it was their child. Would they trust their non verbal child with a teacher that they believed abused him.

We are still trying to fight this. However there is little help and legal information for parents. It also seems that in the scheme of things, special needs students and their parents have little worth to the school district. They are an obligation that they have to attempt to educate by law. One that they have proven they would be happier not to deal with. I have been told that the school district wanted me to remove my son that is why they would not reassign him. Considering that reassigning my son to another class would not have cost the school district one penny, but fighting me on this cost them $50,000 to $100,000 in attorney fees, substitute costs, and other costs, it absolutley boggles the mind. This school district has many budget problems and are in the process of laying off many teachers and staff members. Yet they somehow found the money to deprive a special ed student of a free and appropriate education in a safe and secure environment.

Abuse of Special Needs Children In Our Public Schools - - Jan 22nd 2010

I thought the inapproriate restraint put on my Special needs child was just a fluke. It went thru the State Child abuse process which favored the teachers not the child. But after my teen was in a program designed to test vocational skills and strengths and it was not a good fit at the time, he was returned to his High School special ed class. He had a good atitude about returning to Graduate with his class and try the program at a later time. Some of the adult teachers were not clear on why he was back and assumed he had been kicked out of the program. They told him he was back because he couldn't control himself and he had been bad at the program. I had told him he was returning to be with his class and Graduate as a Senior and would be trying the program after school. He is now thinking he is bad just because the teachers said things they never should have said to another teacher let alone to his face. Now he is complaining of stomach aches daily. I am so angry and my heart aches for him. Now I know mental abuse as well physical is devastating to these children.

How many schools use protective services as a weapon ? - - Dec 31st 2009

How many schools have used protective services as a weapon ? This is a question which should be investigated. It is far more common than one would think. I found the answer to this question the hard way. I was accused of abuse by the school not once, not twice, but three times. Why ? Because I was advocating for my child. Federal law is supposed to protect parents who advocate for their children. What a joke. Calling protective services has become the best weapon a school has. The schools claim mandatory reporting as a defense. This is fine if there reason to suspect abuse. However, when the claim of abuse is found invalid, there needs to be accountability for those who make the false allegations. In my case, each accusation was found invalid. Yet nothing was done to the school which made the false allegations. As long as schools are allowed to make false allegations to stop parental advocacy, the abuse will continue. Our child is now doing better at her new school. However, she is still traumatized due to the abuse suffered from the Texas school she attended. The trauma, due to horrendus forms of abuse, has caused our childs life to change. Instead of loving school, as she did before, she is very fearful of school. She has also become aggressive and is now on several meds. Before the Texas school, which abused her daily, she wasn't on any meds. She was restrained almost daily at her old school. She hasn't been restrained at her new school even once. It's because her new school takes a different approach to her disability. Ignorance is no excuse to those who break the law. Yet schools get away with abusing children everyday. It's time for accountability. It's time for our government to enforce the laws which are already in place to protect the most vulnerable citizens. Society protects animals better than it protects humans. It is shown over and over how society looks upon the disabled. You can't hardly watch a movie without hearing RETARD used in a deragatory manner. Race and even sexual orientation has protections against discrimination. ( As it should be. ) When will our most vulnerable citizens have politicians go to bat for them ? Never. Why ? Because they don't have lobbyist with fistfull of dollars creating laws on their behalf. Let's face it. Disabled people are considered second class citizens. The abuse must stop.

Negligent, Abuse - A Family who has endured the horrible - Dec 26th 2009

I am a mom of a disabled child who was abused in the public educational system. It just not just impact my child, it has impacted our entire family.  It has been over 3 years and I no longer trust and suffer for PTSD.  I do not agree whatsover with glib comments or defensive arguments that there are teachers that are good.  The statement may be true--that does not negate from the fact that there are those who are not and this is the issue. 

It is a national epidemic that does need attention and this forum and the publics willingness to recognize that children are beings neglected and yes, abused by those we entrust them to for the day to be educated.  It is glib to say more training is needed, more education to those who are special educators--good intentions pave roads to hell and my child endured hell.   The answer is taking the laws that are nation wide and making those accountable held to the standard. 

I am seriously concerned when I do searches regarding abuse of disabled children and a great majority of what is avaiable focuses on the family--not recognizing that the school system and those in it harm our children.  It is a fight that is worth fighting, but also states need to recognize such and bring the apppropriate repremands against those who cause the harm.

in response to Monica L - Stacey - Dec 19th 2009

I am sure teachers are not in it for the money, but it's not always the teacher that is being blamed. I have a child with mental health disorders and who I also believe has learning disabilities which cause her further frustration and exasperates the problem. Her teachers are very understanding and help her any way they can. It's the higher ups in the school that are the problem. I was flat out told by the counselor there 'we know she has a problem, but we will not test her until she is at least a year to two years behind grade level, but you can take her to --- to ger her tested for learning disabilities there' The principal's idea of 'helping' me (a single mother of two who is working full time and going to school online and not receiving child support except for random $50 payments here and there to keep himself out of jail) was to call someone about putting her on homebound which would have essentially left my children and I homeless because I would have had to quit my job. When I told her that is not an option she then stated 'well, we have special schools that go half days but our slots are limited' again, that would mean me quitting my job. The reason my daughter is currently having her issues is the day treatment specialist she was working with had to leave unexpectedly for awhile and the extent to which my daughter is having problems is temporary, yet they are in a rush to try and get her out of their school. I understand my child is special needs but there is a government law that is there to protect my child. Do not send my child away when you are unwilling to do the testing that could ultimately help her. How is this NOT the school's fault? The teacher's fault? no. The school's fault? yes. Another woman in the same situation I am in faced the same issue and all her child did that was such a problem is cry every morning due to severe seperation anxiety and general anxiety.  Another school put her child out because she was 'too much of a distraction.' The child was put out instead of teh school taking measures to find out what was causing her to cry every morning. The child had an impending open heart surgery, and her father abandoned her and she was worried when her mom dropped her off, she wouldn't come back. Most adults couldn't deal with that let alone a 9 year old. So yes, in these cases the schools failed these children miserably.

I've seen constant abuse of children at School - S.C - Dec 12th 2009

It's sad that our children, especially children with disabilities are being abused by the very institutions that are supposed to protect them. It's outrageous how easily schools can call CPS to accuse a parent of abuse, yet when there's a report on a teacher who is abusing a special needs child, schools rely on what they call protocol/internal investigation. Part of this protocol allows the investigator to call CPS and report the abuse. If the CPS worker who recieves the call thinks there's no abuse, then the school investigator tells the person who reported the abuse that CPS found nothing wrong was done to the child and the child then goes back to the teacher for more abuse.

In other words the "internal investigation" becomes just that "internal," the child is not interviewed, the parents of the child are not notified, and the person who reported the abuse is told, "This needs to stay here. Don't discuss this matter with anyone!" and that's it.

My wife is an educator and we both feel that the safety of children should be the priority---not our selfish needs.

If there is a group that is ready to investigate this type of abuse in public schools, let's support them. Remember, child abuse should be equally wrong if it happens outside of schools and inside schools, and both should be investigated by CPS in the same manner. It shouldn't have to be covered up by school and CPS policies that allows our children in public schools be abused over and over without their parents being made aware of the traumatic experiences their child is being put through everyday at school.

Teachers, school personnel and administrators, let's stand for what's right---the well being of the children we are supposed to protect!

S.C.

Jailed as a result of having a developmental disorder - Rhenae - Nov 30th 2009

You may not hear much about being an African American male of low socioeconomic status with a developmental disability.  This describes my son.  I as a parent spent 25 years in the military while 10 of those years I spent fighting to make sure my son received a free and appropriate public education.  In my son's school district, there is only one high school.  My son did well academically prior to his attending this high school.  This school was not culturally diverse and had no tolerance for people living in the City's only public housing development.  Upon our first IEP meeting, my son had already described the team as being mean.  I did not believe this.  However, when I met with them, they were worse than what my son described.  As a result, my son began to experience suicidal ideation.  I addressed this issue with the school.  They labeled my son as defiant, eventually telling my son that he should quit school.  False police reports were filed against my son, and the police constantly harassed him.  My son eventually went to jail on a false arrest.  He eventually moved out of our City because of police threats made against him.  When I saw my son's mental health began to deteriorate, I knew something else was the problem.  I suspected another disabling condition.  The school refused to test my son, instead they instuted punishments and suspensions based on false information.   They accused me of not instituting enough punishment toward him.  I even met with psychologists in order to get an accurate diagnosis, they too accused me of poor parenting skills and even trying to fake a diagnosis in order for my son to maintain his social security benefits.  Eventually I met a developmental psychologist who explained to me that my son has an Executive Function Disorder in addition to his ADHD/LD.  This was the major source of his problems.  My son was also diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder in which he experienced dillusions of grandeur.  In summary, he went undiagnosed for the 4 years of attending his high school while suffering psychological abuse by his school.  No, there is no rule to make these teachers or in school psychologist responsible for the abuse imposed on children with these kinds of invisible disabilities.

School systems not trained yet in 2009 - - Oct 23rd 2009

My daughter is mainstreamed now.  She started high school in the Special Ed program.  Her day consisted of sitting idly in a self-contained Resource room doing nothing.  After repeated visits and meetings we finally got her mainstreamed.  It wasn't clear to me until the last meeting that she would not earn a regular diploma in the Special Ed program.  She would get a useless certificate of attendance.  This year has brought some major changes.  Her teachers don't have a clue as to how to individualize or modify her program.  I will have to go in and try my best to not get ugly.  At the Fall Open House (which was a virtual ghost town of parents)  I was irritated with them.  I have been a teacher and I know the many options available to them.  Why do I have to do their job?  If anyone out there knows of an intelligent and innovative school system for a physically disabled high school student please let me know.  We have one more year to go after this one.  Even if the move would set us back in credits we might be better off.

abused in public school - amada abalos - Sep 30th 2009

From ;amada abalos,re; My 9 yr old daughter a special needs child that has temporal lobe epilepsy {some dead neurons]on the 25 th of septembr 2009 ,I was waiting for the school bus to arrive with my child I waited and waited and my daughter never got home ,so I started to get nervous. I saw a police car come in as I was sitting in my car waiting , and I went to see where he was headind and it was my house and I asked him  " what happen officer and he responded your daughter is at the hospital, I said what is the matter with her and he said he did not know.I drove to the hospital and found my child tied up feet and hands to a mbed and I asked my child what happened she said that the principal of the school was taking her out of the library and she was afraid he might assault her ,the principal Mr. Labat continue to want to remove her from the library because she got angry at the librarian when she removed her head band. The principal continue to call a police to the school where they put hand cuffs on my daughter and the also called an ambulance when there was noreason to.He said he called me but I didn't answer But never left a message.I went and untied my child from the bed and the child was fine she was afraid at all this that was happening and she did not know why..The principal Mr. Labat discriminates against children with disabilities,The moved my child from a class room of about 5 or 6 to a class room of 20 or so. My daughter can not be in a large class she fears man she does not like to socialise with too many children and Mr. Labat Ignored the Dr's Diagnosis and thought he knew more .At the hospital Hancock medical center they called D.H.S and and asked me all kinds of questions  it was a big show. They finally found out that I m A very good mother as Kim from D.H.s reported to another person on her cell phone it was very embarrasin for me and degrading .It looks like there is not hope for children with disabilities and they can't get an education.It's very depressing to me to know what goes on in a public school and how they treat these children it hurts..finally after they did a urinalizes on my child tha head doctor discharged my child and just said that it was probably just she got angry because my daughter head band was taken of her head.Sept -28-2009 I went to the school and spoke to Mr. Labat And told him that the way he did things the day of the incident was wrong ,he he said he did what he had to do,I told him I was going to report him to the school board,he said ' I dont care . IT's like they have the power to abuse these children because He things they don't have a chance to be proffesional people in life.I thank you .for your time to read this letter God bless our special need children and their parents that love them unconditionaly.

Special Education Abuse!!!! - - Sep 29th 2009

I have been a special education aide for 8 years. I have worked with Ed students for six years and the last two with severely disabled students. The students are ages 5-9. They are in wheel chairs and most of the students cannot speak! At the beginning of the school year a new teacher was assigned to our room. I saw her hit two separate students and turned her in to my principle immediately! Nothing has been done about this? I was the only one who saw anything but I have a good report with my principle and trusted her to take action immediately. The teacher was just hired so I thought they would suspend her and have an investigation. Well none of this has happened. After about two weeks I went to my Dr. and asked for some time off due to stress. The teacher was just making it unbearable to go to work. When I went out I called two parents to tell them what was going on. I also babysit for them in their home and I love their children. I am now in trouble as my principle called and asked me if I had spoken to a parent. I told her I had and asked her why she was upset with me as I told her I had done nothing wrong! Anyways I am off work for a few month and don’t really know what to do? I love my job and the students. I can’t believe in this day and age a teacher can blatantly hit a student and not have any consequences for their behavior? This had made me sick and I am disgusted with the whole system. I can’t believe anyone would ever want to hurt a child like this.....

Teachers are on YOUR side - Monica L - Sep 10th 2009

What I do not understand about the comments I'm reading is that parents are so quick to place the blame on the school system. Teachers are not in it for the money. We become teachers to change the lives of children and to make the world a better place. Believe it or not, have the same hopes and dreams for your children. I was very disappointed to see a comment naming a specific school district. Disagreeing with a placement is not grounds to say that your child is being "abused" or mistreated. In fact, following the specifics and mandates of the placement your child has is required by law. If they were to go outside the parameters of your child's placement, you would be able to blast them for that as well. I suggest taking up concerns with an individual school district in a private setting and not making it a public spectacle. 

Thank you - Karen - Sep 8th 2009

Reading your article adds to our decision to homeschool our daughter with Down Syndrome As I have been writing our daughter's IEP that I am keeping for our own records I have a hard time imagining our daughter being able to work on all the goals that I have written in different areas while having to deal with distractions in a special needs classroom. Also, in all my research for choosing curriculum for her, some written for Down Synrdome children specifically, I feel that giving her an individualized homeschool education that specifically caters to how Down Syndrome children learn will help her excel farther in her education. There are many resources out there that help to provide information, support and resources for parents homeschooling special needs children...it can be done with love and hard work!

The Schools Make It Hard - Cathy - Aug 19th 2009

When our son first attended school, they fought us about inclusion and I ended up homeschooling for years and a 3 years ago we tried to put him back in school and they wanted to send him to several regular education classes.  Now our son functions at the 3 year level and their idea of inclusion had him sitting in the back, coloring.  The teaching assistants that took him to the classes had no training so didn't understand his functioning level so they attempted to get him to do things way beyond his abilities.  He was stressed out that he began digging sores on his head for "relief".  I fought them over this as I had over the years on one issue or another but they are "proud" of including these children in the regular program.  So, now an adult, he attends a day center for people with developmental disabilities.  Some of his case management staff fought me on this 2 years ago because they felt he should have a job downtown, a regular job with a staff member with him.  Well now after the two years, he rides the bus to the center and has 2 girlfriends and many other friends.  He works on contracts there, goes into the community for functions including meals on wheels and is happier than ever before in his life.  I do believe that a child with special needs should be included as much as possible in the first 3 years of elementary school but after that, it must be individualized - would you have wanted to go into a classroom in high school where you were in Biology class coloring in the back of the room?  What about parenting class when you were being used as the example of a child?  Neither did he.

Animals have more rights than those with Special Needs - Parent in Texas - Jun 16th 2009

It is funny that animals have more rights and those that mistreat animals get put in jail.

What about these teachers that are sent back into society with a slap on the wrist, it just does not make sense.

Ready for action - Stacy Ford - Jun 16th 2009

I am a strong advocate for special needs children and our daugher, with Downs.  We have had many adverse experiences with Leander ISD and finally have had our last at the end of this school year.  I am now doing my homework to uncover other injustices and advocate for our kids who are being cheated out of an education and safe school environement due to neglectful and ignorant adults.  From uncovering so much injustice, I am petrified to know this is our educational system.  This makes corporate america look like a piece of cake.  I hope to bring together others that have had the same experiences so that we can bring about real change. 

Special Needs kids have special needs from parents too... - Bethany Gorski - Jun 5th 2009

Parenting children with "Special Needs" is commonly acknolwedged as a challenge above and beyond the usual demands of involved and loving parenting.  Monitoring the school system is only one aspect of this challenge and it often gets overlooked as simply being an "involved" parent, dismissed as being an obsessive parent, or just ignored altogether.

Our family is fortunate enough to still remain in one household and, more or less, able to provide a stable and supportive environment for each other.  So many familes affected by disabilities are not so fortunate.  When my son was first diagnosed with Autism, I remember reading that at that time (7 years ago), more than 60% of heterosexually partnered parents were separated or divorced within the first year after a diagnosis of Autism for their child(ren) [I don't recall any info on same sex parents].

What no one told us was why it's so difficult to hold on and keep the family together- that we would need to make tremendous sacrifices of time, energy and income to even give this kid a fighting chance.  One of those sacrifices is being a one-income family so that one parent is always on Full-Time Parent duty, which includes being so involved with the school, the teachers, the paras, the typical peers in class, etc. that very little slips by unchecked.  I'm not in any way suggesting that parents of children with special needs are to blame for a school's mistreatment but I am suggesting that the dialogue about parenting special needs extends to include the daunting responsibility of extra involvement.

The educational system will not be changing soon enough for our kids who are already in the schools.  Fighting for change is one important way that folks who aren't up to their eyeballs advocating for their kids on a daily basis can support those of us who are.

Parents of recently diagnosed kids be warned as I wish we'd been- it will not be easy, it will never be fair, and you CAN do what seems impossible.

Other folks, please reach out to the parents in your life and community (your churches, your schools, your extended families) who have children with special needs.  Offer what support you can, be sure to be reliable in following through with that support, and most of all retain a solid dose of compassion (not pity) as you help us advocate for our kids.

Thanks for this forum, I've never had the opportunity to express this before!

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