A news report about a lawsuit in California filed by a special needs student's
mother identifies an effective strategy for guarding against the
abuse and neglect of special needs students and for taking action if abuse is suspected.
The woman alleges that her 7-year-old daughter, a Fresno Unified School
District special education student, was locked in a makeshift cage by
her first-grade teacher.
The Fresno Bee reports that the woman "discovered the alleged abuse
in late May when she made an unannounced visit to the east-central school
and found her daughter in the cage, wearing a soiled diaper."
She then called the police, hired a lawyer and proceeded to file a legal
claim, which is now in the preliminary stages, the newspaper states.
E-Mails Show School Knew or Should Have Known Girl's Treatment Was Wrong
The woman's attorney filed a public records request and obtained internal
school district e-mail that indicates that school officials knew or should
have known such treatment of a child was wrong, according to the report.
One e-mail indicates that staff members were allowed to restrain children
or put them in a timeout during a violent outburst or other crisis, according
to the newspaper. But isolating a youngster in a locked room or other
area is prohibited.
Another e-mail from a school district trustee to the superintendent refers
to "a need for more training for special ed aides - on how to handle
the students and on their rights and responsibilities," the Bee reports.
E-mails obtained by the attorney also show that the girl's teacher
was immediately put on administrative leave, and that school officials
"acted swiftly" to enroll the child at a new elementary school.
Further, "after learning about [the woman's] allegation, the district
searched classrooms at most of its schools for any similar enclosures,"
the report states.
In addition, the newspaper states that a police report shows that, after
responding to the woman's call about her daughter, police found and
dismantled the enclosure that the daughter was held in and interviewed
classroom aides, the principal and the mother.
The woman's attorney provided a copy of the police report to the newspaper.
Taking Action Is Key When Faced with Abuse of Special Needs Children
Parents of special needs students in Florida have the same rights as the
mother in California whose daughter is the focus of this news report.
In particular, they have the right to seek justice if a school is abusing
or neglecting their special needs child.
A lawyer experienced in Florida cases involving the abuse and neglect of
special needs children can take the same kind of action as the attorney
in the case, including obtaining evidence of mistreatment and school officials'
knowledge of it.
The Maher Law Firm focuses its practice on assisting families of special
needs children who are being abused and neglected. If you suspect the
abuse of your special needs child, call police if the mistreatment is
contact The Maher Law Firm as soon as you can for a free and confidential consultation.