A teacher recently had his license suspended by the Florida Education Practices
Commission for allegedly hurling insults and
assaulting special needs students at a Broward County middle school.
The teacher at McNichol Middle School was accused of inflicting various
forms of physical and verbal abuse on the children, including hitting
one student over the head with a ruler and telling another that he was
going to "cut his throat and chop off his head," according to the
A complaint also alleged that the teacher told another child to "dress
up like a woman and go to South Beach" and shoved another child forcefully
into his seat. The incidents were alleged to have occurred during the
2011-2012 school year.
Even though the teacher was fired in April 2013, he could have taught elsewhere
in the state. However, with this license now suspended through January
2016, that won't happen.
Additionally, even after his suspension ends, the teacher will need to
be on probation status for two years, pay a $500 fine and - most importantly
- complete a course on teaching special needs students, the Sun-Sentinel states.
Abuse of Special Needs Students is Widespread
Unfortunately, this teacher's case is just one of many similar episodes
of known or suspected special needs child abuse occurring in schools and
on school buses across Florida and the rest of the country.
In the last week of January alone, a
New York teacher was accused of punching a special needs student in the face and an
Arizona principal was placed on paid administrative leave as the state investigates allegations
that he hit a special needs student's head on a table following a
Unfortunately, the agencies that serve disabled students say that there
is not a lot of literature to support how many cases of special needs
school abuse happens every year.
One study suggests that 1 in 3 children with an identified disability are
victims of some sort of mistreatment, such as neglect, physical abuse
or sexual abuse.
In May 2009, the Government Accountability Office issued a
report documenting cases of special needs abuse in public and private schools
nationwide, including Florida incidents in which a teacher's aide
gagged and duct taped elementary-aged children for misbehaving. Some of
the reported cases resulted in deaths.
Some parents believe they must take matters into their own hands. For example,
some parents of special needs students have taken to wiring their children
with recording devices to listen in on the school day, making sure that
their children are in capable hands. In some states, that's not even
legal. Still, it shows the degree of desperation that many parents feel
when it comes to protecting the safety and dignity of their children while
under someone else's supervision.
If you believe your child has been abused at school or by another caregiver,
contact The Maher Law Firm for more information about your legal rights and the
options you have for putting an end to your child's mistreatment and
seeking relief that your child deserves.