02 July 2010

YOU Can Prevent Abuse at School

I think we all know there are some things that are wrong, no matter what the law says. Used to be you could legally buy and sell slaves at the courthouse up the street from me. Today, it's legal for certified teachers to lock children into closets. Our local high school even has paddling procedures outlined. As long as they avoid the face and hands, it's legally OK when a teacher treats a child this way.

But it's no way to treat a human being.

I've contacting you in regards to SB 2860, a bill that would reduce the incidences of restraint and seclusion in public schools. Sad to say, but we need a bill that will give children the same rights that prisoners and mental health patients take for granted.

I have a three-year-old who was diagnosed yesterday with severe autism, and I'd like to be able to send him to school when he is older. But I might not be able to do that in good conscience without your help.

The preschool is wonderful in this district, but the elementaries have a nasty practice of locking children in closets when they "misbehave." My older son Elf is autistic and at the age of six would hide under the desk and that sort of thing when he felt overwhelmed. Rather than figure out a way to meet his needs, they set up a confrontation and would drag him to a locked closet for noncompliance. This made the problem behaviours at school worse.

I have been homeschooling him for nearly four years now, and I can tell you that a smaller class would have been perfect for him. He doesn't receive any special services; he just needed a calmer environment without the threat of physical violence.

Needless to say, I have not felt the need to lock my child in a cement closet during his schooling at home. Surely if an untrained parent can figure out how to not abuse a child, our teachers should be required to purchase a clue about how to treat people humanely.

Elf is now ten and afraid of "school." He wants to wear his homeschool shirts all the time so that no one will think he is truant and take him away. What he has been through has affected his perception of who "safe people" are and the nature of people in the helping professions. I'd sure like to spare my younger son these sorts of phobias. I don't really want to homeschool a non-verbal child, but I CANNOT put him somewhere I think he will be abused... let alone into a place where he will be abused and I have no legal recourse.

Can you help? It would be so much appreciated.

Most sincerely,
Mrs. C's real name

That was my note to MO Senator Claire McCaskill.

My dear readers, will you do something for me? Will you contact your state senator and advocate for the passage of SB 2860? It simply mandates the same level of protection for schoolchildren that someone in, say, a hospital or other public place would have against being shoved into closets, tied to chairs, and sat upon. It DOES NOT prevent necessary force, any more than it prevents security from doing something to you if you acted up in the emergency room. It just makes what teachers can do and can't do clearer. It will help children in states like mine that give teachers and administrators total leeway to lock the more difficult to educate (read: disabled) children into closets and otherwise not provide them with the free public education to which they are entitled.

I'll celebrate when this law is passed, and then I'll circle 'round about the blogs when I catch wind of something that will prevent the heinous practice of paddling in schools. It should never be ok to abuse a child. Please help by contacting your senator. Want to find out more? Here's a link to get started.


  1. I'm not sure that I can help from here. But I will pray that SB 2860 is passed.

  2. My Autistic daughter was traumatized by public school as well.

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