This Petition is important for a variety of reasons but mainly for the safety of our special needs children and the staff who works with them. This would also help staff members keep a better eye on each child at all times. Most of these children are nonverbal or are limited in properly communcating therefore it is essential for cameras to be placed in all Special Education classroom settings.The safety of our children is of the utmost importance.
Below is my letter to Governor Brandstad, Lt Governor Kim Reynolds & The Iowa Department of Education.
Here in Des Moines, Iowa, we have two different schools for children with special needs. Smouse is the early education/elementary school. Once they turn 13, they switch over to the Ruby VanMeter which is the highschool/transition school. When my daughter Taylor was at Smouse in 2004 she was supposed to have a one-on-one staff with her at all times. Taylor was left unattended in a swing and when she tried to get out of it, she got her finger caught breaking it two places as well as it being severed. Due to the extent of damage a few weeks later it had to be amputated. Staff tried to deny any wrong doing and the school principal actually tried to say that she bit her finger off. The doctors even said that wasn't possible.
Since Taylor has been at the high school, she has come home with multiple bruises; bruising on her neck which I found out was from a male staff member trying to get her to sit down, rug burns on her bare bottom and on her back. She wears a pull-up and staff tried to say that she was scooting on her butt that cause the rug burns on her. Later that same year, I walked into the classroom and personally witnessed an associate stradling a child that was in a wheelchair, her hand over his mouth screaming at him. This child end up having marks inside of his mouth due to the pressure. I filed a complaint with the principal and nothing was done other than the associate was moved to a different classroom and they tried to keep me out of the school. I told them my child goes to school here and they will not keep me from coming to see her. At that point they asked me to call before I came up there. I refuse to even do that.
There have been many other situations that have been questionable but I have also had to keep in mind that my daughter (who has had tendencies of self abusive behavior) could have caused some of these herself.
April of this year Taylor was switched to a different room. I noticed from the begining of school that she was having issues with an associate. I got a phone call at 1 o'clock in the afternoon from the nurse saying that Taylor was involved in an incident at 9 AM. I feel the only reason they called that day was because Taylor had begun bleeding from in her inner ear. I was then told that the associate attempted to stop Taylor but rather than using her hands she kicked the door and it pinned Taylor between the storm door and the entryway bouncing Taylor's head off of the door causing a big bump on the right side of her head.She was then taken the the hospital where she was diagnosed with a head injury and a concussion. I refused to send her back to school until she was in a different classroom. Last I was aware, the associate was still working with students in the same classroom and Taylor was moved into a different room. I am not even sure if the associate or nurse had disciplinary action taken against them. I have also heard from many staff members as well as ex staff members who state that things are not right in that school.
My story is only one of the many of both physical and verbal abuse as well as neglect taking place in special needs classrooms all over Iowa as well as the country. Not only would cameras serve as a wonderful training tool on how to appropriately handle certain situations, but cameras would serve as protection for our children, as well as serve as protection for teachers and aides against false accusations and retaliation from within their own districts.
I am asking for your assistance in protecting the safety of special needs kids in the state of Iowa. I would like you to consider passing a bill or making it into a law that all special needs classrooms would be required to install a camera system to help assist and protect our children from the abuse that may or may not occur in their schools.
I will be starting a petition on Change.org. This Petition is important for a variety of reasons but mainly for the safety of our special needs children and the staff who works with them. This would also help staff members keep a better eye on each child at all times. Most of these children are nonverbal or are limited in properly communcating therefore it is essential for cameras to be placed in all Special Education classroom settings.The safety of our children is of the utmost importance.
Thank you for your time.