Autistic Child Assaulted, School Administrators Refuse Explanation

Thesemindz

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This happened in my city.

http://www.news-leader.com/article/20090501/NEWS04/905010359

"Why won't they tell us anything? Why can't we see the video?" McDaniel-Thomas asked, breaking into tears. "We feel totally alone in this."

Ok, basically, an autistic child gets off the bus one day with cuts, scrapes, bruises, and swelling of the face. He has clearly been assaulted, but when the parents try to find out what's happened, the school system refuses to give them any answer at all, or to allow them to view a video of the event taken by the CCTV camera on the bus, because they are afraid of prosecution under a federal law protecting the privacy of students.

So even though the kid has clearly been assaulted, which the school system finally admitted after the fourth contradictory public statement, they don't know how, or by whom this attack occured.

Even the parent of the child who may have been the attacker has been denied any information on what happened, though the school has referred her and her son to Child Protective Services, presumably though not admittedly as a result of the incident.

So now, something awful happens to your kid, on the school bus, while in school custody, and they refuse to tell you what happened, who did it, or show you or your lawyers video taped footage of the event.

What?


-Rob
 

MA-Caver

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Pretty bad but one wonders if the kid is autistic then what is he doing riding on a regular school bus with other children without adult supervision knowing that even a misunderstanding of a regular kid can escalate fairly rapidly and such "attacks" would happen.
Definitely the parents need to get a judge to get a court-order to see the tape/video before it's tampered or altered with to protect whomever they're trying to protect.
 
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Thesemindz

Thesemindz

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He wasn't riding on a regular school bus.

He was riding a special school bus for kids with disabilities. On these buses there are usually one assistant in addition to the bus driver. I can't say for certain if there was that day. The other kid who may have attacked him is also autistic.


-Rob
 

shesulsa

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Speaking from experience, it is likely that another minor child with behavioral issues lashed out at the child and thus, the school would be bound to protect the privacy of said minor.

These behaviors, if included in the behavioral IEP and plan, would be understood as risk and the matter would likely be handled according to the IEP and school discipline plan. The IEP (Individual Education Plan) is a legal document and how the behavior is addressed would be included.

So ... without knowing all the particulars of this case, I think it's a good guess the culprit is another student ... though an attorney should be able to gain that information as work product.
 
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Thesemindz

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Speaking from experience, it is likely that another minor child with behavioral issues lashed out at the child and thus, the school would be bound to protect the privacy of said minor.

These behaviors, if included in the behavioral IEP and plan, would be understood as risk and the matter would likely be handled according to the IEP and school discipline plan. The IEP (Individual Education Plan) is a legal document and how the behavior is addressed would be included.

So ... without knowing all the particulars of this case, I think it's a good guess the culprit is another student ... though an attorney should be able to gain that information as work product.

In fact, the parents think it was another student. But the school system won't tell them, or the parents of the other student in question, if that was actually the case. They won't tell anybody anything, including the lawyers, because they are afraid of getting sued if they do. They did however send CPS over to the home of the parent of the student who may or may not have been the attacker in order to investigate her home, but they won't tell her why. She even thinks her son was probably the attacker, he admits to "maybe" having done something. But the school system is stonewalling her as much as they are the parents of the victim.

They won't tell nobody nothin. Nor will they allow the videotape of the incident to be seen, even by the parents of the presumed attacker or victim, or their lawyers.


-Rob
 

shesulsa

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While it sounds completely unjust, it is actually their job to maintain confidentiality - not just because they're afraid of getting sued, but to ensure they are doing their job. The minors are in their charge during a portion of the day and their well-being must be guarded. It is quite easy to get the mob mentality in this situation.

Believe me, if my kid came home looking like that I'd want all the details, too - in fact when my oldest was ah ... explored upon ... by another student, I wanted ALL details, but it was not forthcoming until the parent decided to allow the information to be shared - I was able to get more details from the mother of the observing child and only by her grace did I get the full story.

The management of this kind of situation can't be a day at the beach.
 

Gordon Nore

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While it sounds completely unjust, it is actually their job to maintain confidentiality - not just because they're afraid of getting sued, but to ensure they are doing their job. The minors are in their charge during a portion of the day and their well-being must be guarded. It is quite easy to get the mob mentality in this situation.

Believe me, if my kid came home looking like that I'd want all the details, too - in fact when my oldest was ah ... explored upon ... by another student, I wanted ALL details, but it was not forthcoming until the parent decided to allow the information to be shared - I was able to get more details from the mother of the observing child and only by her grace did I get the full story.

The management of this kind of situation can't be a day at the beach.

Reading your assessment of the situation, it sounds like the school is prevented from doing the 'right thing' by the possibility of getting sued for confidentiality violations. That's an awful situation to be in. If a child has so much as a mark on him from an altercation or accident with another student, as a teacher, I would want the parents to hear about it from the school, not after the child got home.

Alas, schools and school boards are targets for litigation, and administrators have to insulate them from actions.
 

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Reading your assessment of the situation, it sounds like the school is prevented from doing the 'right thing' by the possibility of getting sued for confidentiality violations. That's an awful situation to be in. If a child has so much as a mark on him from an altercation or accident with another student, as a teacher, I would want the parents to hear about it from the school, not after the child got home.

Alas, schools and school boards are targets for litigation, and administrators have to insulate them from actions.
That may be but a meeting of both parents of both children together with a judge or (the families attorneys, and the school's attorney's as well... ) to make sure all is understood should've been instigated as quickly as possible.
Parents of autistic children should be (experienced) enough to understand that sometimes (though not usually) these things can happen.
Parents have the right to know immediately what happened to their child if they were attacked... the identity can remain confidential until permission is obtained and a meeting of minds gathered to discuss the situation out rationally.
 

shesulsa

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That may be but a meeting of both parents of both children together with a judge or (the families attorneys, and the school's attorney's as well... ) to make sure all is understood should've been instigated as quickly as possible.
Parents of autistic children should be (experienced) enough to understand that sometimes (though not usually) these things can happen.
Parents have the right to know immediately what happened to their child if they were attacked... the identity can remain confidential until permission is obtained and a meeting of minds gathered to discuss the situation out rationally.

I don't disagree that something different need be done, and parents can be told what happened to their child so long as the other child's identity is protected ... but sometimes that's hard to do. If Little Johnny is beaten with a crutch and only one kid uses crutches, it's easy to identify who the child is.
 

MJS

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See, this is why I get so pissed off, when I read about crimes that were committed by juvies, and because they're under age, no names, etc can be posted. Screw that!! Post their damn names! Let everyone know who did what! The school needs to protect this one and that one.....BS!!!

I hope the parents of that assaulted child sue the **** out of the school. I understand that perhaps the offending child wasn't aware of what they were doing, but still....for the school to go into operation cover up...thats a bunch of crap!

Juvies get arrested all the time. Just because their names aren't in the local paper of on the 6 o'clock news, doesnt mean that they cant be prosecuted.
 

shesulsa

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Black and white television was great ... until everyone got color.

Developmentally delayed kids often have behavior problems that cause them to do stuff like this - hell, there are plenty of autistic kids who harm themselves, believe it or not. It's not nice and it may be no excuse to you ... and I invite you to walk a mile or three in my moccasins. It's quite enlightening to endure things you never thought you'd tolerate, stares you know you don't deserve, judgement from people who know no better.
 

MJS

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Black and white television was great ... until everyone got color.

Developmentally delayed kids often have behavior problems that cause them to do stuff like this - hell, there are plenty of autistic kids who harm themselves, believe it or not. It's not nice and it may be no excuse to you ... and I invite you to walk a mile or three in my moccasins. It's quite enlightening to endure things you never thought you'd tolerate, stares you know you don't deserve, judgement from people who know no better.

I'm not going to go into huge amounts of personal medical details on here, but I will say that have a family member with a mentally challenged daughter as well as a close friend whos sister is severely handicapped, so while I have not lived with this 24/7, I have been present for enough, to know what these people have to deal with.

That being said...unless I'm missing it, I didn't see the extent of the injuries to the other child. It says he was hit, slapped and poked. Was there serious physical injury other than that? Did the offending child have a history of doing this in the past? If so, was anything done? If not, why? If so, what was done?

While the child may/may not have had control or the ability to understand what he was doing, I do see the other parents side as well and I can see why they'd want something done. And yes, something needs to be done and should be done. I'm sorry, but as kids, they should not have to go to school daily, and run the risk of being assaulted. And for the school district to cover this up, is a shame.
 

tshadowchaser

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Depending upon the extent of the injuries I can understand the parents of the assaulted child going so far as to bring the police into this as well as taking the school, the school bus company and driver and all else concerned to court.
The right of privacy would seem to be in contradiction to the right to know what has happened to ones child. If legal proceeding need to be invoked to bring more details out then that is what should happen.
Now having said that, if the abused child was only slapped then maybe just finding out why and looking at that childs behavioral patterns might be the way to go
 

Gordon Nore

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See, this is why I get so pissed off, when I read about crimes that were committed by juvies, and because they're under age, no names, etc can be posted.

I don't want to put to fine a spin on it, but by all accounts, the child may have been harmed by another autistic kid. I don't know that we're quite at the level yet of juvenile crime. It would be better if these things didn't happen, but they do. Once the information all comes out, I think the issue will be about the role the school and staff in protecting the child, and in responding to the child's injury.
 

MJS

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I don't want to put to fine a spin on it, but by all accounts, the child may have been harmed by another autistic kid. I don't know that we're quite at the level yet of juvenile crime. It would be better if these things didn't happen, but they do. Once the information all comes out, I think the issue will be about the role the school and staff in protecting the child, and in responding to the child's injury.

Oh, trust me when I say, that alot of this does come down to the school and staff protecting kids. However, fact is, this was an assault, simple as it may be, so yes, with a good lawyer, the family, especially in todays society, where folks sue at the drop of a hat, could have a good case.

As always, with news stories, many facts are left out. I think that I brought up some good points in my last post, regarding things that need to be answered.
 

MJS

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Well, the first link claims that the child had facial cuts, and facial, neck and chest bruises. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out. I'm sure the school will try to sweep this under the rug, but hopefully they won't be successfull.
 

Carol

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The first link also states that neither the bus driver nor the aide on the bus filed an incident report to track the matter.

I can understand how there are privacy rights to the individual students, but privacy right to a student don't make up for the city employees falling down on the job.
 

MJS

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The first link also states that neither the bus driver nor the aide on the bus filed an incident report to track the matter.

I can understand how there are privacy rights to the individual students, but privacy right to a student don't make up for the city employees falling down on the job.

I'm no lawyer, but IMO, this seems like its going to be a feeding frenzy for the attny. of the family whos son was injured, if they decide to take action. I mean, this school dist. is in full operation cover up mode, and by not having any sort of papertrail........

This is a story that I think is worth keeping an eye on.
 

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