Anonymous's picture

Schools are using forcible restraint on kids with behavior problems

I was shocked by an article I saw this week about schools using forcible restraint, isolation, and other abusive practices on kids who have been diagnosed with autism, Asperger's, ADHD, etc. Apparently the teachers haven't been properly trained to deal with behavior problems in these kids. An 11-year-old with ADD was hauled off to jail in Texas after he cursed at a teacher, and the boy's mother says that he hasn't been the same since. In Iowa, another 11-year-old actually DIED while being held down by a teacher. Those are only two stories--there are lots more. This is crazy! We need to pay attention to what's happening in our schools. Do any of you have similar stories?

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

This is very scary! In my son's school, there's been problems w/ bullying, but nothing like this! My son is in special ed classes, so I often worry about his future. Although no one likes to hear stories such as these, I hope they help open the eyes of parents, and make them more aware and cautious of what cld go on in their child's school.

laura61's picture

My son was a victim of school bullying in high school. My son would tell me things and I would tell him that he shouldn't fight back, because I heard and I found this to be true, when I talked to the school house principal. First, my husband would tell him to fight back and when I talked to the school official, he said that he shouldn't fight back, but come tell a teacher or other school authority, due to "zero tolerance" against fighting. I even brought up the scenerio of what would happen if they were beating him silly and no school authority was to be found. The answer, still, was tell a teacher. That left me fuming mad. My son went to the doctor to be checked out a couple of times. One time we got the one school bully expelled for a while. Expelled doesn't mean what it used to mean when I went to school. Now, expelled means a suspension for at least 90 days. You don't have to go find another school who will put up with your outrageous behavior. BTW, a suspension can be up to 10 days.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

It's unfortunate that these actions aren't taken more seriously. If a kid even says, "I'm going to kill you" to another kid, even if said in a kidding way w/ no physical act, the school jumps. However, a child can be bullied time and time again, and regardless of the schools' policies on this, the bullying often continues. For children in special ed, there are very few choices. Private schools are a fortune and often won't be funded in many cases, and homeschooling is not always an option for parents. It's really a tough situation that needs to be fixed, however that may be.

Flamom's picture

Restraint and Seclusion on Children with Disabilities in Florida Public Schools

There are many families from counties all over Florida who have children with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders that are being restrained, put in time-out and forced locked seclusion rooms in the public school system. Our children are being injured physically and mentally because of their disabilities and the lack of appropriate programs and highly qualified teachers and aides available to educate them. Most of the aides that are hired have little or no background in children with Autism.

Florida has no laws or regulations to protect our children from the over use of restraint and seclusion. Most school districts have no guidelines, no tracking system, no consent from parents and no parent notification in many cases.

Many of our children have little or no communication and the only way they can communicate is through behavior. Because school staff do not understand what our children are trying to say through behaviors, they are punished by being restrained, put in seclusion, time out or suspended. The trauma this has caused our children and the emotional drain to our families should never happen to any child or family.

Some of our schools are prone restraining children with Autism and emotional disabilities in Pre-K. That means they are prone restraining children as young as 3 years old. I can't even imagine how terrified these children must be and what this is doing to them mentally and physically.

If you file a complaint with the FLDOE you are filing a complaint with them about them and nothing happens. It’s a broken process that many families have tried to get help from only to find that there is no help. And then there are the forged documents that they come up with to prove parents wrong. And let’s not forget about retaliation on parents if you speak up too much.

Because filing a complaint with the FLDOE is a waste of time parents have turned to Government agencies but still have not found any help. The answer is always the same. We have no authority over school districts. It seems that our public school districts can do whatever they want and not be held responsible.

The information below was presented by a Florida ESE Director on May 9, 2007 at a school board meeting.

What if we do not use PCM (Restraint) Procedures?
Increase in the number of students with disabilities being arrested
Increase in involuntary hospitalizations under the Baker Act
Student and staff injuries will increase
More School Police involvement
Increase in medications to include PRN medications

Restraint and seclusion is not a treatment, restraint and seclusion is the failure of treatment.

Flamom's picture

After PSL autistic boy's case, Attorney General weighing more complaints from parents

TALLAHASSEE — Stemming from its investigation into a Port St. Lucie autistic boy voted out of kindergarten, the state Office of the Attorney General is looking at how children with autism are treated in Florida schools.

"We want to understand this issue on a more global scale," said Sandi Copes, press secretary for the Office of the Attorney General in Tallahassee. "To see if there is an underlying problem."

Since the office's initial investigation into the case of 5-year-old Alex Barton, several people with autistic children have come forward with their own complaints, Copes said.

Parents are expressing frustration their complaints haven't been heard, so the Attorney General's office wants to talk with them to see if there's any way to help, she said. Those discussions could take place in the coming weeks, she said.

The investigation began after Alex told his mother, Melissa Barton, he was voted out of his kindergarten class by his fellow students. Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo told police she wanted Alex to hear from his peers how his behavior affected others. She then took a poll as to whether Alex should be allowed to return to the classroom, according to reports. Alex lost the vote, 14 to 2.

At the time, he was in the process of being tested for Asperger Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism. He since has been diagnosed with the disorder, Barton said.

The St. Lucie County School District continues to investigate the incident.

When the Attorney General's office investigated Alex's situation, Barton mentioned other parents who had contacted her regarding the treatment of their autistic children, Copes said.

Barton said she is glad parents finally have someone paying attention to them.

"Finally, things are getting done," she said. "There is some justice in it."

It's no longer just about Alex, she said.

"There are other children out there that have been waiting (for help) a very long time," she said. "No one has been listening forever."

The Attorney General's office is trying to compile a list of participants to meet and talk about their issues, Copes said. The investigation is statewide and not concentrating on one area in particular, she said.

Meanwhile, Barton said parents are trying to mobilize. She said now is the time for parents with complaints to come forward.

The Office of the Attorney General is interested in talking with parents of children with autism who have concerns about their child's treatment in schools. Parents with concerns can call the citizen services hotline at (866) 966-7226.

Anonymous's picture

This is so sad. Many of these kids who are forcibly restrained at school probably don't tell their parents about it until it has already happened numerous times. And how many kids are out there who don't tell their parents about this treatment?

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

In my son's case, we can rarely get him to tell us what he did in school, let alone inform us if anything bad has happened. We've had to deal w/ some behavior issues w/ our son, but in the public school, we weren't always told the whole story. We'd hear differently from his private school teacher. Then when we brought it up to the public school, the truth wld come out. We tried to get into the public school to observe our son in his classrm, but we were told we cldn't do that b/c of security reasons. However, we were able to enter the school at any other time for meetings or other organized activities. It's all bull. We even tried to have a professional observe our son in school, which we were told was allowed, but whenever we tried to set up a time, the school always found an excuse as to why she cldn't come that day. The only positive thing that came out of this experience, was that we were able to use this against the public school to get them to pay for our son's private special ed classes this coming yr. It's so frustrating that parents of children in special ed have to go to the ends of the earth to protect their kids. Lawyers can be helpful, but unfortunately, they come with a big expense.

sambabe's picture

my son is 5 he is in a mainstrem school i have asked the teachers loads of times not to grab my son by the arm cause he bruises really easliy and they take no notice of me everyday i check my son when he comes home for any bruises and he has loads on his legs i ask the teacher wat had happend and they said football i no that kids can get bruises really easy and that kids are kids but i drop him of at school today and as i was leavin jordan (my son) who they no is artuistic and not to grab him had a hold of him cause he was tryin to come with me it was just luck i turned around and seen them with him or i would never have know i went up to the teacher and ask her not to grab him like that and let him go she just look at me if i was some alien i went into another class so i could clam him down and i was speakin to the snt teacher and this other teacher who took care of jordan last year came over and grab him by the arm and told him to stop been naughty which i thought was wrong i said to the teacher not to grab him like that and she just walked away i really need advice from anyone in the world who can help im a one parent family and i really dnt no wat eles to do my email thank you and god bless

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

You need to document the times you see your son grabbed and bruised. Is it possible for you to observe him in his classrm or otherwise have a professional observe him? You may even want to consider a lawyer who deals w/ education issues. The thing is if you can prove that your son's being mistreated, then you can press charges against the school. The last thing the schools want is a lawsuit. If none of this is possible, I wld seriously consider changing schools. A private spec ed setting wld probably be best if you can convince the current school to pay for it. It's obvious that the public schools don't have the appropriate resources for many children w/ disabilities, and they certainly don't know how to handle these kids. It's sad that it all comes down to money. Many public schools are getting away w/ the bare minimum. As long as they offer services that fulfill the requirements for teaching these children, even if they are not the best services ("a free appropriate education"), they are getting away w/ it. My son attended pre-k at our town public school, and we requested that he have an aide trained in spec ed. We were told that aides are only assigned to children w/ severe disabilities, and therefore our son didn't qualify for an aide. There was a teacher's aide in the classrm already, but she had no training in spec ed. We appreciated her efforts to work w/ our son, but the fact remained she and the classrm teacher were not trained in spec ed, nor were they equipt to handle our son's needs and the needs of 20 other preschoolers in the class. Thankfully, this yr, we were able to convince the school that our son needed to be in a private spec ed setting. We see a big difference in him this yr already.
Don't be afraid to stand up for your child's rights. I've learned how important it is to advocate for your child if you want to get the right help for him or her. Good luck, and don't give up fighting!

gospelway1's picture

These are just a few more examples of why Home Schooling is better than public school. Your child is not exposed to abuse from peers that will scar them emotionally for life, nor will they have to be singled out by the school administration for unusual punishments