Topic

autism

86 petitions

Started 3 days ago

Petition to Teamsters Local Union No. 205, Shaler Area School District

Teamsters Local Union No. 205 - seniority above the well-being of special needs children

ProblemThe COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE SHALER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT AND FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME SECRETARIES, CLERKS, AND AIDES TEAMSTERS LOCAL 205 (the “CBA”) is negligent in regards to properly handling one-on-one aide assignments for children with special needs.According to the CBA, an employee with more seniority can bump anyone with less seniority from their position, even if that position is working with a special needs student that requires one-on-one attention throughout their day. Many special needs children have trouble with transitioning. Even the slightest disruption in their daily routine can cause stress and anxiety that not only hurts the child directly affected but can create a distraction for their classmates as well. A policy that routinely replaces an aide that a child has become familiar with, where the aide is in tune with their individual needs, is completely unacceptable in today’s society.The language in the CBA allowing for this negligence was drafted in the 1970s and is long overdue to be changed. No one in the school district is in favor of this policy, but the union refused requests to change.SolutionIssue an amendment to the 5-year contract signed in 2018, that protects against bumping a 1-on-1 aide for a special needs student from their position. Quite simply, make the quoted language below that is already in the contract NOT subject to being trumped by the bumping policy and seniority. The following is language is in the same CBA, but is blatantly disregarded in favor of the bumping policy: “ANY EMPLOYEE AWARDED A PARAPROFESSIONAL BID FOR A ONE-ON-ONE STUDENT WILL REMAIN WITH THAT STUDENT AS THEY TRANSITION FROM GRADE TO GRADE AND BUILDING TO BUILDING. EITHER THE EMPLOYEE OR THE DISTRICT LEADERSHIP MAY REQUEST A CHANGE OF ASSIGNMENT WHEN A STUDENT MOVES FROM BUILDING TO BUILDING TO BE MUTUALLY AGREED UPON BY BOTH PARTIES.” (ARTICLE NO. VII- SENIORITY, Section F. of the CBA)Personal storyMy child is on the autism spectrum and requires a one-on-one aide to be successful throughout her school day. She is in a mainstream classroom for the majority of the day, and transitions to a learning support classroom for core classes. In 2017, she started kindergarten without a permanent, full-time aide and struggled for the first two months of the school year. It was not until she finally had a full time aide assigned, that she finally settled in and had a great first year of school. She established a good relationship with her aide, and her aide became attuned to her unique needs and behaviors, which proved to be a very successful working relationship.She was set to begin 1st grade with with her aide in place, which was very fortunate as she was moving to a new school building, however, due to the thoughtless policy set forth in the CBA between the Shaler Area School District and the Teamsters Local Union No. 205, the aide that she worked so well was bumped from her position working with my child. After being informed of this situation, I reached out to the school district superintendent to voice my frustration and see how the situation could be resolved. I was assured the school would do everything they could to help my child be successful, but that they were merely following the policy set forth in the union contract. The district was not happy with the policy either, but nonetheless signed a new 5-year contract with the union in July 2018, without addressing this policy.   Since a contract was just signed weeks earlier, my next step was to reach out to the union.  I spoke to the recording secretary who was most familar with the contract at Shaler.  He informed me that the bumping language in the contract was from the 1970s and his membership was not interested in changing it (though it was not put to a vote by the entire membership nor was my actual request correctly presented, which was to not make one-on-one assignments subject to bumping).  I was not asking to remove the bumping policy completely.  My ask was merely to not allow the bumping policy to overrule this section of the CBA: “ANY EMPLOYEE AWARDED A PARAPROFESSIONAL BID FOR A ONE-ON-ONE STUDENT WILL REMAIN WITH THAT STUDENT AS THEY TRANSITION FROM GRADE TO GRADE AND BUILDING TO BUILDING. EITHER THE EMPLOYEE OR THE DISTRICT LEADERSHIP MAY REQUEST A CHANGE OF ASSIGNMENT WHEN A STUDENT MOVES FROM BUILDING TO BUILDING TO BE MUTUALLY AGREED UPON BY BOTH PARTIES.” As the school year was soon approaching, and realizing no change was going to happen prior to the first day of school, we prepared our child for the new school year as best we could.  She visited her new school twice and even had the opportunity to meet her new aide before the first day of school.  There were some minor bumps in the road as her new aide became accustomed to her needs and wants and how she communicates.  Now, after 2.5 months of school, with multiple aides shuffling positions throughout the district, my child is now without a permanent one-on-one aide during a 20-day trial period.  She may have a new aide before the end of the calendar year, but even if she has someone new assigned to her, the bumping can begin again and disrupt her learning environment all because of an out of date policy that totally ignores special needs children.  These children have enough obstacles to deal with to try to stay on pace with their peers, the last thing they should need to worry about is a union contract from the 1970s. 

David Zalewski
30 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State House, New York State Senate, Sue Serino, Didi Barrett, Carl Heastie, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Aileen Gunther, Angelo Santabarbara, Latoya Joyner, James Skoufis

Bailey’s Law now! Hold criminals accountable for victimizing the developmentally disabled!

 Please Support the Passage of #BaileysLaw We cannot allow criminals to get away with the death of their victims. My 19 year old autistic son, Bailey, committed suicide on 7-31-17, my birthday of all days. After nearly 20 years of complete family devotion and cultivating our lives in support, contemplation and preparation of his each new life phase, new stage, new challenge, and new triumph our lives were completely and irrevocably upended in the span of 8 minutes. Bailey had many friends. He was kind, funny, caring, generous, gentle, down to earth, and creative. He was an artist, a lover of history, and had compassion for all living things. He was a teacher his whole life as much as he was a student of it. Bailey made me stronger, made me determined, made me timely, made me adjustable, made me more understanding...and it was Bailey that made me an advocate for kids with special needs for all these years. Of course, his 3 siblings also helped make me, and him, over the years...we all made each other. Our family has always been very tight. Being a single mom the last 16 years enabled me to make my children my world, and show them we are a team. I’ve tried to give them everything I am and everything I have within me, with intention. But despite everything I’d, we’d, put in over the years my son, their brother, is gone...less then 8 minutes after leaving my side. Bailey resorted to suicide 7 days after being a victim of a financial crime, 4 days after I realized he was victimized, and less than 5 hours of being asked to ID one of the perpetrators. He was preyed upon, betrayed, and taken advantage of by a girl he knew for years and had recently befriended him. This girl connected her male friend to my son under the guise of helping them cash a check. From what I’ve been told by State Police, Bailey was hesitant to help them, unsure of whether or not the request was legitimate, and she assured my son that the request was fine and then promised him, I believe, $200 from the proceeds for his assistance. I suspect Bailey provided them with his bank card and his PIN number. On 7-24-17 the male deposited a $1675.00 fraudulent check at an atm in Highland, NY and then immediately withdrew $200 (the amount fronted with a check hold); this was caught on atm bank video. I realized there was a problem on Thursday the 27th when I noted on our joint account both the deposit and withdrawal as well as the $200 withdrawal ultimately being pulled from my separate account. Bailey was learning banking and I would transfer his disability money to the joint account so he would learn about money management, budgeting, grocery shopping, etc. Bailey was devastated over the loss. We connected with local police on the 27th, who then directed us to the nearest state troopers on the 28th, who in turn directed us to State Troopers in Highland on 7-29-17 where we filed a complaint. Later on that Saturday, my youngest son told me he overheard his brother Bailey on the phone after hearing of the banking problem on Thursday, extremely upset over the financial loss and insisting on the return of funds. On Monday, 7-31-17 the investigator came to our house at 12:30 to see if Bailey could ID the male in the bank video. Bailey claimed he did not know the person and by his reaction I believe he didn’t. At 5:16pm he left our home stating he was going for a walk to draw; this was not unlike him as his executive processing speed is slower than many and he’d use walks or drawing to manage stresses. By 5:30 I heard the emergency response sirens and ran down our street, because I never wanted my kids around the chaos when EMS was in the area, and of course I wanted to count the safety of my chicks. The area they were responding to is a nuisance area that has had more than it’s fair share of fires....but there was no fire truck, only medical response. My son had hung himself in the woods less than a block from our home. The next day I was presented with a note he’d written; he clearly believed he’d done something very wrong in trusting the wrong person. No law enforcement involved in this case believes that Bailey had the faculty to understand what was happening, or the complexities that he was a victim, and neither does any of his family nor his longstanding therapist. There is no doubt in my mind that he merely thought he was helping someone. Both accused, at this point, will only be charged minimally; one with grand larceny 4th and the other with Endangering a disabled person 1st, both class E non violent felonies. Theoretically they could each get probation. They have each since been arrested for other crimes; her on drug charges in October 2017 and him for killing a 16 year old with his car after an argument in Yonkers in December 2017. The male is being held without bail in Westchester and has yet to be charged for our case. The female was arrested and arraigned for this case but was granted release on $2000 cash/$4000 bond. I am sickened over what may be obvious to you at this point, that the charges do not reflect their role in the death of my son. People with disabilities, including autism, are among our most vulnerable community members. It seems so unjust that a charge of endangering specifically relates to affecting the mental well-being of a vulnerable person yet they are not charged with the actual consequences of this criminal action. I’m currently working with our local representatives to start the process of pushing for new legislation in the state to hold perpetrators fully accountable for the consequences of their actions. The law for Endangering in NY currently states: “Under our law, a person is guilty of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree when he or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect. The term "knowingly” has its own special meaning in our law. I will now give you the meaning of that term. A person KNOWINGLY acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect when that person is aware that he or she is acting in such manner. Actual harm to the incompetent or physically disabled person need not result.” Currently under our criminal laws culpability for a persons suicide rests on the aspect of “aiding and abetting”, or, in practical terms, specifically aiding, directing or encouraging the suicide. This MUST change. Those that would intentionally cultivate an environment and/or circumstances specifically to use people with disabilities to commit a crime, need to be held accountable for the full range of actual damages they cause, including the death of their victim. We need #BaileysLaw to firmly establish... If a defendant is charged with endangering in the first degree, or another crime related and/or connected to a charge of endangering in the first degree (as in coconspirators/codefendant), whereby the events result in the victim’s suicide within reasonable proximity of the crime, defendants should be criminally charged for the victim’s death. This area of law, as it specifically relates to endangering, also needs to be updated to incorporate the disability standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Social Security Administration in trials. As it stands, the question of a successful trial seems tied to whether or not the victim has an IQ over 40, and can dress and feed oneself. This is an extremely low threshold for a successful trial against a perpetrator charged with endangering and is not in line with current state and federal laws to protect the disabled. There are an enormous number of people with autism, and other disabilities, who have a high IQ and can feed and clothe themselves but cannot fully meet their own needs in a manner that could be characterized as independent living. Bailey’s Law should protect anyone that can be considered a vulnerable person by including the state and federal standards of disability.   I urge you to support Bailey’s Law. It will not help my family but it will help many others. PLEASE, sign this petition to help me get it passed!  To view or VOTE YES on the #BaileysLaw bill (NY S.8541) you can visit https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/s8541  - there is a link at this location for the identical Assembly version as well. To learn more about my beloved Bailey you can visit the guestbook at https://m.legacy.com/obituaries/poughkeepsiejournal/obituary.aspx?n=&pid=186269333&referrer=0&preview=True To follow our journey, visit https://www.facebook.com/BaileysBridges/ https://m.facebook.com/DearBaileyLoveMom/ & http://BaileysBridges.org/baileyslaw/ Sincerely, Gae Marie Cannon, Poughkeepsie, NY *6-17-18 Update: Our bill for Bailey’s Law passed in the NY Senate on 6-11-18 with a vote of 44/17. The bill is now in the NY Assembly (A.10874) and I’m pushing to have it passed before the end of the legislative session on 6-20-18.  The Ulster County Court has declined to take on the female’s case (the facilitator of this crime), and referred it back to the Town Court. This means that HER CHARGES WILL BE REDUCED from felony to misdemeanor or less- because Town Courts CANNOT process felonies. It is looking more and more like she will get 3 years of probation... To put this into context- a DWI, WITHOUT LOSS OF LIFE, can result in 3 years probation, over $1000 fine and revocation of drivers license...  I am disgusted.... these people KNEW they were committing a crime. KNEW they were targeting someone with a disability, and their actions resulted in the DEATH of their victim......  Please, please share our petition... This is just not right..  Targeting our vulnerable loved ones breaks a sacred social contract in our society and we must prevent this from happening to someone else...  8-15-18 Update: Our bill for Bailey’s Law is currently stuck in the Codes Committee of the Assembly but I am pushing forward with public support signatures as well as organizational and legislator support. Our bill now has 4 Assembly sponsors: Didi Barrett, Christine Pellegrino, Angelo Santabarbara, and David McDonough. This is immensely helpful but until this bill passes in the Assembly and is signed by Andrew Cuomo, we cannot stop pushing for more bill support.  Our next court hearing for the female’s case is on August 28th. It’s expected she will be offered a plea bargain of a reduced charge (felony Endangering in the 1st to misdemeanor Endangering) with a sentence of 3 years probation. THIS IS NOT JUSTICE FOR AN INTENTIONAL CRIME THAT RESULTED IN DEATH.  The male has not yet been brought up to our county for arraignment; he is still pending trial for Murder 2 in Westchester County in an unrelated case.  9-21-18 Update: Our last court appearance for Teator did not go as expected, thankfully. But know I have no idea what’s going to happen. Our next court date is Tuesday, 9-25-18. See update for more details.  What you can do to help:1. SHARE the petition and Bailey’s story, in person and online2. Go to our website and print free flyers for local venues and local bulletin boards in your town, and deliver them to all the neighbors on your street 3. Call agencies that support the disabled and/or elderly and ask them to join our coalition of support. You can give them the website address as a contact. 4. Stay informed. The blood and guts of this journey is on our Facebook page Dear Bailey. Thank you so much for your support, your caring messages (yes, I read them all), and I hope you’ll stay with me through this process of fixing the law. With gratitude, Gae Marie 

A Mourning Mom *
16,488 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Governor Terry McAuliffe, Governor Ralph Northam

Decriminalize Autism and Save Drew

Our son, Drew Harrison, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is currently serving three active years of a 50-year prison sentence. Drew’s Autism was not taken into consideration at trial or sentencing. We are petitioning Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. Drew reconnected with a woman he had dated in high school. The evening before inviting him to her apartment she shared her interest in BDSM, submissive sex. She told Drew that her boyfriend was too tired after work to please her sexually. Upon arrival she laid a blanket on the floor, she allowed him to massage her shoulders and feet, she showed him her semi-nude, erotic photos of herself and engaged in sexualized talk. In the bedroom he easily removed her shirt and pants. Drew gave the woman oral sex and put a finger in her vagina. When she told him to stop he stopped. The two of them texted and emailed back and forth hundreds of times post event. They even got together a few times. On one occasion they went to a bookstore where she pointed out an erotic BDSM book for Drew to buy. Six months after the evening in her apartment she reported to the police that the contact in her bedroom was nonconsensual. Those with ASD typically have a strike or two against them when entering a courtroom. The pace of questioning often exceeds their ability to process everything that is heard. Their high anxiety and repetitive statements can be mistaken as indicators of deception or guilt. Without an understanding of their unique way of processing information and their difficulty expressing anger appropriately a court can easily question credibility and reach a faulty conclusion.  Drew’s therapist testified that Drew has a strong desire to please, that he has learned to fake well in order to fit in. The judge interpreted this as our son’s ability to be deceitful and he used it as part of the reason for convicting Drew. He never asked the autism experts in the courtroom for clarification regarding Drew’s social and communication deficits.  In a letter presented to the judge Drew’s probation officer noted that Drew complied with all probation conditions for over two years. She stated that if this were a regular case without the appeal process she would request early release from probation. She added that Drew passed the state-issued polygraph without deception. Results were consistent with the not guilty plea Drew has maintained from the beginning.      The judge stated that he didn’t view Drew as a threat to the community or the woman. He emphasized that he was sending Drew to prison as a general deterrence to others because that is what the community would want him to do. Drew’s therapists are convinced that Drew is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. They warned the court that incarceration would be torture for our son. In prison Drew suffered a break down after abrupt medication changes and being moved from isolation into general population. To deaden his senses from loud clanging doors, the bright buzzing lights and the chatter of inmates Drew often wears ear plugs and wraps a shirt around his head. He struggles to navigate the unwritten rules of inmates. Drew lives in fear and overwhelm. He begs us, “Please get me out of here”. Prison visits are bittersweet. We are grateful to spend time with our son, but heartbroken as we see him deteriorate. We are asking Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. We ask for your support by signing this petition. My blog savedrew.com gives additional details and excerpts from transcripts. It shows the considerable reasonable doubt and injustice.  Thank you, Judy and John Harrison       

Judy (Jude) Harrison
6,040 supporters