Acceptance and Awareness, Autism News, Bullying, Dignity & Respect, Education, Equality

Educator Assault

Recently, I read an article in the autism community about a mother demanding answers after she learned that a teacher assaulted her 8-year old autistic son.

The incident led him to being out of class for 14 days.

The report states that the teacher “grabbed [the student] by the wrist and forcibly removed him from the classroom. He was then taken into the hallway and thrown against a window and left unattended for an unknown period of time.”

According to the report, no visible injuries appeared on the student. The incident was first reported to school administration by a graduate student who witnessed the incident.

Within the letter, she stated the incident was “so traumatizing to [her son] that while in the hallway, unsupervised, [he] apparently cried and ultimately sung to himself to help him calm down, while he was alone, isolated, and secluded in the hallway for an undetermined amount of time.”

The mother said on Sept. 27 she received a phone call — while outside the school to pick her up son — notifying her of the incident. She added that only when she said she was outside of the school was she invited for a meeting.

During the meeting, she said her son was so traumatized that he was asked to use puppets to explain the incident. She added that he reported that his arm still hurt days later.

During the meeting, the mother was told the only viable options were for her son to return to the classroom while the incident was investigated, be placed in a general education class with a teacher’s aide, or agree to in-home instructing — for one-hour per day— which would amend his individual educational plan with the district.

She had no choice but to keep her son home until the school could provide him with a “safe classroom, conducive to his special needs, that supports his IEP in the least restrictive environment.”

During her follow-up meeting with school Principal  and Director of Student Services , she was asked multiple times to sign a “request for in-home instructions,” which through negotiations she was able to increase to five hours of instruction, including technology and counseling. But Ms. Lockett said she did not sign, as the form was incomplete.

“I just want him to get the same education he was receiving but in a safe environment,”  “That’s really it. I was OK before all of this with the type of classroom he was in and the plan for his success. It all seemed to make sense and it was going to do very well… I just really want him to have that opportunity again.”

She added that with no answers from the district regarding the investigation, she is uncomfortable with agreeing to amend his IEP. She said her son typically withdraws when criticized and has no history of being disruptive or combative with others.

“I was very emotional and I’m just overthinking ‘what could’ve happened, what is it going to happen, what else is he going through’ because he does hold his feelings sometimes if he feels he is wrong. If he gets negative feedback like ‘oh you’re not supposed to do that’ he will keep that in and not want to talk about it. It makes me scared to know what else is going on or what else has happened,” she said.

Rachel Lazear will also be assigned new non-classroom job duties when she returns from her four days off without pay, Washington Local Schools Superintendent Kadee Anstadt said.

That leave started Monday.

“This entire situation is unacceptable,” Ms. Anstadt said. “The incident should never have happened and once it did the investigation should not have taken this long.”

The exact details of her reassignment are still pending.

“The most important thing is that she won’t be in the classroom with students. She will have no student contact at all,” Ms. Anstadt said.

I too was a victim of a similar assault when I was 7, however with out town being small word got out among my classmates that this happened without my knowledege. With the school being a small 2 classes per grade, not having a diagnosis or accomodations, along with a IQ of 92, because the DSM-IV was not released yet and I wouldn’t get a diagnosis until I was in a research study.  As a result of numerous struggles and challenges, my parents had me relocated to the other classroom in the school which also resulted in the teacher and a student being relocated as a result of the incident.

Like in the movie “Forrest Gump” where Mrs. Gump did what she had to do get Forrest what he needed to excel, my mother was the true advocate, both of which I commonly refer to in my adulthood as ” Special Education Pioneers” This work continued throuhout the remainder of my school career and without the advocacy of my parents, especially my mother, I would not have been provided the multitude of opportunities and accomodations that I was given.

I do regret that back then I wasnt as thankful for that advovacy that my mother fought tooth and nail to ensure that I did, sometimes more the paid advovate themself (I work the agency that houses the program and contriubte advice when asked to do so.) But I never thought of it, I just went to school because it was what I did and for the majority of school years it was managable.

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