"Kendall's Cameras" for Special Needs Classrooms
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Our family has been fortunate to have teachers and administrators who truly care about Kendall and to these people we will be eternally grateful. Unfortunately, we have had others who have had a negative impact on our family and will not soon be forgotten by my daughter or our family. Below is our story.
During a 3 year span our beautiful daughter was being mistreated by the people who were supposed to be caring for her. These same people grabbed my daughter, pushed my daughter, pulled my daughter across her classroom and humiliated her in the presence of her peers. These same people yelled and screamed at my daughter - face to face! They screamed for her to leave class and sent her out into the hallway alone and confused. They intentionally agitated her by doing things they knew would upset her and trigger undesirable, uncontrollable behavior. They once even confiscated my daughter’s shoes because they feared she “MIGHT throw them”. Although my daughter was clearly distraught, they refused to return her shoes and placed her in a dark corner at the end of a short hallway where she could not see or be seen by any other person. She was berated and belittled because she was unable to control herself in a large, noisy gym with children running around screaming. My daughter has been disciplined for behavior that children without a disability are not punished for. My daughter has been called names by a teacher and been accused of being a manipulator. Kendall has actually been admittedly mocked by a teacher on 2 different occasions. My daughter apologized to an administrator who walked off without even acknowledging my daughter and then yelled back across a hallway that she accepted her apology. She humiliated my daughter in front of other children but also in front of other adults who never said a word in defense of my child. Kendall has been threatened with criminal prosecution and there have been many attempts to intimidate me to make me “fall in line”. There were some positive changes at the end of her time at school and my daughter was able to return to a new school with new teachers. She’s was very successful in the beginning but this was short lived as the damage had already been done. Kendall finds it difficult to trust or form any type of bond with others and although this can be attributed to autism it has become almost impossible after the trauma she has endured. As you can imagine, we were devastated and infuriated when we discovered the things that happened to our once happy child but to also know that others knew and did nothing. They didn’t speak up or step up and in fact, we have seen people promoted, recognized and rewarded and it is inexpiable why some are even still allowed to work with children at all. Now Kendall suffers with extreme anxiety from experiences no child should endure. Unfortunately, this is happening across our county, our state and our country. We need cameras in special needs classrooms to protect our children from those who do not have the necessary mind set, training or desire to truly help our children and support our families. Families should not have to worry about whether or not our children are safe at elementary, middle and high school. We shouldn’t have to prepare for meetings as if we are taking the bar exam. Our children should have full access to programs that are available at school but officials keep them quiet and we have to seek out programs as they aren’t usually readily available. When you take your child to school do you worry about an adult pushing, pulling, grabbing and screaming in our child’s face? This is a daily concern for us. If these things were perpetrated against a non-disabled child it would be considered assayult but for some reason it is acceptable treatment for our children. She has been out of school for over 2 years but she is still waking me at night with the same fears and anxiety.
Please read the stories below in our update section and you will clearly see this is an ongoing problem and a few states have already implemented cameras to protect their students along with the teachers and staff who truly care about our kids.
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In 1998, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimated that 3 individuals with special needs die every week in US schools and Institutions due to abusive practices like restraint and seclusion. The Hartford Courant, which had requested the study, concluded that the actual toll could be three to ten times higher than estimated.
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