Acceptance and Awareness, Education

Autism Acceptance Month Day #12 – The use of Force in Schools Today

Let me start off by saying that I have been out of public school for 15 years this year and while it was never brought up in great detail about myself being abused by a professional in my public school career. It is becoming more and more commonplace that this is evident, specifically in the autism community.

I only recall of one specific instance of abuse by an school professional that was brought to my parents attention by another parent who’s child told his mom she was abusing me.

It was first grade, then it was the first year of attendance in public school all day, since kindergarten at the time was half day sessions. Nonetheless, I had teacher who was different at best. Granted, I was experiencing unknown symptoms and would not receive the proper disgnosis until seventh grade. However, I was diagnosed with the all too popular diagnosis of the 90s, ADHD. Something I now realize almost 30 years later that I have struggles with regularly. Anyway I can only recall the instances of her yelling at me and throwing things at me, I never realized that she forcibly struck me. Nonetheless my behavior became severe and my mom being an true advocate insisted on me being transferred to other class in the school. Keep in mind that these were mainstream classes and there were only two. Additionally, her daughter was in the class, as a result she was transferred to another school in the district.

A couple of weeks later it was discovered by a student of that prior classroom that I was being abused by the teacher. Keep in mind this was 1992, no school in our district has security cameras. In fact the Christmas break the year prior our senior high was vandalized by school students massively. School board members were asked why cameras weren’t in the building. They stated they didn’t think it would be good. It would be some years later until all schools and buses would be equipped with such devices.

In retrospect these incidents must have occurred some time prior to removal because years later I came across a aritcle in a local newspaper were was dressed like a pilgrim taking about the history of America being founded. I recently wonder with all these instances occuring in the open eye as if the teacher had remorse for her actions towards me.

The irony of that situation is that two years later I would find myself with a highly tenured teacher who didn’t want to accommodate so I was transferred to an emotional support classroom. Unique to that I would see the first grade teacher as this was the school her and her daughter were located at. The paraprofessional would make me show her milestones, like learning how to tie my shoes for example.

Nonetheless, I have heard of instances of abuse far and wide since my occurrence almost twenty years ago. I get some peace of mind that the board of education closed the school a couple of years ago and couldn’t use it because it contained mold and had zoning restrictions. It was razed and last summer I walked to it and had a sigh of relief.

I will close saying that I know several mom’s of children on the Autism Spectrum who would do and advocate for the needs of their children, including my own mother who indeed is my #1 cheerleader. The saying goes you are your child’s best advocate. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in my instance and I am indebted greatly thankful and appreciate it dearly.

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