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Torture, according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, is...any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions.


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The OCLB Team

Sandy Strassman-Alperstein, Deidre Hammon, Jackie Igafo-Te’o, Shari Krishnan, and Calvin and Tricia Luker, along with self advocates Benji Alperstein, Daniel Alperstein, Brianna Hammon, Michael Igafo-Te’o, and Nicholas Krishnan

Schools Regularly Restrain, Seclude Students With Behavioral Issues
Inclusion, positive reinforcement, and individual attention can prevent disruptive behavior in students. Physical restraint and seclusion are ineffective tools for managing students with developmental and behavioral disorders, experts say. But both approaches are used regularly at U.S. schools. During the 2009-2010 school year, there were nearly 39,000 incidents of restraint and more than 25,000 cases of seclusion at the K-12 level, according to a March 2012 report by the U.S. Department of Education. Seclusion typically involves locking a student in an isolated room, while restraint can include physically holding a student, subduing them with medication, or using devices such as wraps, cuffs, or helmets to inhibit their movement, Daniel Crimmins, director of the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University, said at a Senate committee hearing last week.
Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Senate Hearing to Reduce Seclusion and Restraint in Public Schools; Backward Practices Have Disproportionate Impact on Students with Disabilities and Minorities
Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in conjunction with the recent Senate HELP Committee hearing on the use of restraint and seclusion of students: “I applaud Senator Harkin for his efforts to limit the use of barbaric and coercive punishments in our nation’s public schools. The recent hearing highlighted the alarming rate at which students are being strapped down or excluded from their peers. During the 2009-2010 school year alone, there were 39,000 recorded incidents of physical, mechanical, or chemical restraint. These practices are harmful for all children. The civil rights community is especially troubled that students with disabilities and minorities are disproportionately subjected to these obsolete methods of working with youth. Students with disabilities account for 70 percent of those who have been restrained, while African-American and Latino students are restrained at twice the rate of their classmates. In addition, ineffective seclusion and restraint practices also help perpetuate the school–to-prison pipeline. They must be stopped. Our schools should promote learning and personal growth, not create fear and distrust of authority.”

Breaking News: GAO Issues Report on School Bullying

GAO issues report on school bullying, esp. of vulnerable groups such as special education students! Thanks to Jim Gerl and his Special Education Law Blog for links to summary and actual 64-page report!

Kentucky - Parents Sue School for Putting Kindergarten Daughter Into Dark Seclusion Room

Harkin Welcomes Administration Directions to Help Reduce Seclusion and Restraint
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement in response to the announcement by Education Secretary Arne Duncan of a new resource document aimed at reducing the use of seclusion and restraint practices in schools.

Texas - 11-year-old Special Needs Student Arrested
An 11-year-old special needs student is arrested, accused of assaulting teachers. Buffie Veselka says her son, Manny Hutchinson sat in the Juvenile Detention Center downtown for three hours before she was even contacted. "He can't say his a-b-c's, he can't tie his shoes," said Veselka. "Never ever in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the administrators for his school would press felony charges against him." Hutchinson is a special needs student, charged with assaulting his teachers. "My son is legally mentally handicapped. He has epilepsy."

Abuse and Disability: Why Can’t We Slow the Traffic at This Intersection?
The intersection of the 101 and 405 freeways in Los Angeles is one of the busiest in the world. Traffic never lets up in any direction. In search of relief the city h as expanded the freeway, increased access on secondary roads around this intersection, widened the freeway and created carpool lanes. The congestion continues at all hours, every day. There’s another intersection that is similar in nature. It’s the place where abuse meets disability and if you have a disability, you cross at your own risk.

New York - Restrained Boy at Leake and Watts in Yonkers Dies

Ohio - Columbus School District Sued Over Accusations of Locking Disabled Students in Padded Rooms
The independent state agency that advocates for the rights of disabled people is suing the Columbus public schools over the use of “seclusion rooms,” which are secured rooms often used to isolate special needs students.

Georgia - Parents Blame School for Son's Death
Parents claim two special education teachers assaulted and battered their disabled son so badly he died from the abuse. Ronald and Arthalia Hatcher sued the Fulton County School District, the Fulton County School Board, Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa, special education teachers Melanie Pickens and Katherine Dorn Durden, and 15 other Fulton County public school employees, in Fulton County State Court. The Hatchers say their son Aaron, a special-needs student, suffered abuse at the hands of his public schoolteachers, Pickens and Durden.

California - A Parent's Total Nightmare


The parents of two boys alleged to have been abused by a Redwood City special education teacher are expressing frustration over lack of information and the subsequent difficulty in offering the correct support for their children to recover, according to the parents and their attorneys. Alexia Aliki Bogdis, 43, of Millbrae is charged with five counts of child cruelty and four counts of battery on school grounds — charges to which she pleaded not guilty this week. The victims in the criminal case are two autistic boys who were in Bogdis’ special education class at Roosevelt Elementary School.

Texas - Deer Park Teacher Disciplines Autistic Student with Spray Bottle
It is a shocking allegation. The most vulnerable students on a Deer Park ISD campus were verbally and physically mistreated by the very people most responsible for protecting them. "All they know is to trust. That's all they know, that's all they know," said Sheri Graham, mother of a son with special needs.

Indiana - Family Accuses Bus Driver of Assaulting Autistic Son
The Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating an alleged assault inside a Rochester Community School bus. Unlike most bus abuse incidents, this case claims a district bus driver handled a six-year-old autistic boy inappropriately. And the entire ordeal was caught on tape.

New York - Mom Says Teacher Sent Her 10-year-old Autistic Son into Cardboard Box; School Removes Instructor From Classroom, Pending Investigation
An infuriated southern California mom is claiming a fourth grade teacher unfairly persecuted her autistic son by sending the 10-year-old to sit inside a large cardboard box at the back of her mainstream class. Mom Kim Rollins told the Daily News she recently learned about the TV-sized enclosure when her son Sage asked for a pair of scissors and some markers to “decorate his box.”

Florida - Teacher Accused of Using Hot Sauce to Discipline Students Under Fire Again
WFTV read through dozens of pages of a personnel file belonging to a troubled Osceola County teacher and found out she has a history of bad behavior. Lillian Gomez was suspended without pay in early February, accused of pouring hot sauce on crayons to discipline autistic students at Sunrise Elementary in Kissimmee.

Connecticut Lawmakers Shelf Bill Banning 'Scream Rooms'
A proposed bill to ban so-called “scream rooms” in the state will not be brought up this year, according to the co-chairman of the legislature’s Education Committee.

Florida - Lillian Gomez, Teacher, Accused Of Using Hot Sauce To Punish Special Needs Students

Abuse of Fulton students with special needs continues to shock
An administrative court decision represents quite a victory for a Fulton family and quite a condemnation of Fulton County schools. The details of this saga continue to shock – a middle school teacher mistreated and abused a student with cerebral palsy.


Illinois - When Teachers are Bullies
We all know bullying is a problem in schools, but from a teacher? It sounds crazy, but teacher-bullies have recently been in the news quite a bit. Bullying students is awful enough, but in two of these cases the harassment was directed toward high school special education students. A special education teacher bullying students. Wow. Just…wow.
Kentucky - School Accused of Putting Autistic Student in Bag
A 9-year-old autistic boy who misbehaved at school was stuffed into a duffel bag and the drawstring pulled tight, according to his mother, who said she found him wiggling inside as a teacher's aide stood by.
Massachusetts - Aide Faced Previous Molestation Allegation; Principal Never Reported Incident


Boston school officials failed to report a prior molestation allegation involving a teacher’s aide now accused of a lewd act involving an autistic student, the Herald has learned.

Kentucky - Student Teacher Charged After Allegedly Assaulting Special Needs Student
A former DuPont Manual High School Student faced a judge Wednesday on charges stemming from an alleged assault on a special needs student.

South Carolina - Teacher Charged With Abusing Special Needs Student
A Lake City High School teacher has been placed on administrative leave after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a special needs student. Capt. Mike Nunn, spokesman for the Florence County Sheriff's Office, said deputies arrested Anthony Marichial Cameron, 43, of Lake City and charged him with one count of abuse of a vulnerable adult.

California - 5-Year-Old Student, Forcibly Had Legs And Feet Bound, Arrested At School (VIDEO)
What started as an attempt by the Rio Calaveras Elementary in Stockton, Calif. to change the behavior of a student with ADHD, turned into a source of outrage for the boy's mother, KCRA reports. Earlier this year, school officials arranged for 5-year-old Michael Davis to meet with a school police officer in the hopes that the gathering would leave the sometimes-too-aggressive Davis "scared straight."

New Mexico - Suit Filed After NM Teen Cuffed For Burp in Class
A 13-year-old was handcuffed and hauled off to a juvenile detention for burping in class, according to a lawsuit filed against an Albuquerque school principal, a teacher and school police officer.

Teachers Caught on Tape Bullying Special-needs Girl
Parents sent her to school wearing hidden recording device: ‘We were shocked’. The parents of special needs student Cheyanne, 14, caught her teachers’ verbal abuse on tape. The family talks to TODAY and reveals they’re pressing charges.

Florida - PSL Florida Mother: Autistic Son Handcuffed, Detained Under Baker Act
Click on the link to watch the news video and read the article.

New Mexico - Teacher Punching Special Needs Student Caught on Video


KOB Eyewitness News 4 spoke with a special needs student who was punched in the face by a teacher after being drenched with water from a hose. Sonny Romero, 14, and his grandmother watched video of a fight between Romero and an Espanola High School teacher.

Ohio - Reprimanded Teacher Runs Out of 'Last Chances'
Columbus, Ohio schools first reprimanded teacher Eric B. Brentlinger for being abusive to special-needs students in 1989. But the district gave him more chances year after year, even after he violated a "last-chance agreement" he had signed in 2006 promising to keep his temper in check and to stop pushing, manhandling and yelling at special-needs children. By 2007, Columbus City Schools officials had signed a second "last-chance" contract with him and, by 2008, sent him to work in the district book warehouse, away from children, on the condition that he promise to retire in 2010. The district paid his $80,866 salary until he retired last spring. Brentlinger worked with special-education students in the district for nearly 28 years, in schools including Kent and Koebel elementaries and Yorktown and Eastmoor middle schools.

Mississippi - Why Are Children Being Handcuffed at School?
According to AlterNet, students at Capital City Alternative School in Mississippi are routinely handcuffed for hours as punishment for minor misbehavior. On June 8, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal class action lawsuit against the Jackson Public School District for allowing this type of punishment. The lawsuit was filed after the school district refused to respond to a letter from the Southern Poverty Law Center asking that this practice be stopped.

Florida - Family of Special Needs Student Hit by Teacher Wants Cameras in Classrooms
A Duval County family is hoping to turn a negative situation into a positive one for children in special needs classrooms. Mishonda and Granardo Felix's 13-year-old son Brandon McNeil has Down Syndrome and attends Palm Avenue Exceptional Elementary School. A few months ago, the school's principal told the family that the teaching assistant in their son's classroom, Khasey Cunningham, was concerned about the way their son's teacher, Darlena Thompson, was treating her students. Cunningham used her cell phone's camera to record Thompson when she left the room one day, and the video the Felix's viewed showed Thompson snatching a pencil from Brandon's hand and throwing it back in his face.

New York - A Disabled Boy's Death, and a System in Disarray


Jonathan Carey did not die for lack of money. New York State and the federal government provided $1.4 million annually per person to care for Jonathan and the other residents of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, a warren of low-rise concrete and brick buildings near Albany. Yet on a February afternoon in 2007, Jonathan, a skinny, autistic 13-year-old, was asphyxiated, slowly crushed to death in the back seat of a van by a state employee who had worked nearly 200 hours without a day off over 15 days. The employee, a ninth-grade dropout with a criminal conviction for selling marijuana, had been on duty during at least one previous episode of alleged abuse involving Jonathan. “I could be a good king or a bad king,” he told the dying boy beneath him, according to court documents.

New York - Brooklyn Mom Claims Special Needs Son Was Assaulted By Aide
A Brooklyn mom claims that her special needs son was put into a choke hold at his school by a teacher's assistant earlier this week. And if she doesn't beat her son, then no one can: "I don't beat my children, so I don't expect people to beat my children. When I saw him, it hurt. I work with children in two places. I don't appreciate it," said mother Elizabeth Pena. Pena says that she was told by school officials that her son Chris, who attends special needs classes at P.S. 141 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, was assaulted in school; she noticed when he came home on Wednesday with red marks on his neck. She was told that a teacher's assistant put her 14-year-old son, who has been labeled "emotionally disturbed," in a choke hold in the lunchroom front of other students and faculty. In addition to the scratches on the front and back of his throat and bruises on his arms, Chris also ended up with a couple of dislocated fingers. Chris told his mother that he did fight back, and swung at the aide while trying to get out of his grip. This year, there have been several controversial cases of special needs kid being handcuffed in school, leading some politicians to call for a ban on handcuffing children at schools. The DOE said the aide has been suspended while a police investigation is on-going. Chris' father Dino has his own idea what should happen to the aide: "I want him locked up. I want him fired from his job. Or give me five minutes with him, that's it."

New York - Mother Tells How Daughter was Confined in Potentially Unsafe Oswego BOCES "Time Out Room"

Texas - A Teacher's Aide Has Been Charged With Breaking a Disabled 15-year-old Student's Arm
Victoria Guadalupe Rivera, 52, was charged with injury to a child. Investigators said the incident occurred in January at the Harris County Academic Behavior Center in southwest Houston. Ethel Clark said her daughter, Tameria, has been autistic since birth and the child cannot speak. She suffers from frequent seizures and has undergone several open heart surgeries for cardiac problems. On Jan. 5, Tameria was sent home from school with what school officials termed a "dislocated shoulder."

School Official Defends Cops Who Pepper-sprayed Boy
It needed to be done. That was the message from a Jefferson County Schools superintendent Tuesday after 9NEWS reported that police used pepper spray on a second grader.

Georgia - Student handcuffed seven hours to file cabinet sues APD, school system
A former Grady High School student who said Atlanta Police officers handcuffed him to a file cabinet for an entire school day filed a civil rights lawsuit Friday against APD and the city school system.

Wisconsin - Former Appleton teacher Mary Berglund charged with child abuse
Child abuse charges filed Tuesday against a former Appleton teacher shook the confidence of families and has a disabilities organization pondering a civil lawsuit.

California - Azusa police get in middle of reported slapping incidents involving student, parent and teacher's aide
County education officials and Azusa police are investigating an allegation of child abuse after a female instructional aide was accused of slapping a 6-year-old autistic child, officials said Tuesday. But police have also charged the student's mother with misdemeanor battery for slapping the aide in retaliation.

Wisconsin - Appleton teacher charged with 10 counts of child abuse
A former Appleton special needs teacher is being accused of physically abusing her students and is facing 10 felony charges. Mary Berglund had been a special education teacher at Janet Berry Elementary school for 16 years before recently resigning.

Montana - County Attorney's Office Explains Charges in School Case
I am writing in response to the guest opinion by Randy Tarum (Tribune Jan. 31), the civil attorney for the parents of a child involved in the pending criminal cases against Julie Parish and Kristina Kallies.

Montana - County Attorney's Office Failed in its Duty to Protect
A recent decision by the county attorney's office essentially dismisses charges against teacher's aide Kristi Kallies, accused of the abuse of students with disabilities at North Middle School.

Florida - Boy, 8, Arrested Over School Tantrums; Orlando Teachers Had Deputies Arrest Boy 5 Times
An 8-year-old boy was arrested earlier this week after being accused of running from teachers at school, throwing sticks and injuring one of them.

Florida - Man Taped Crying Student Into Chair, Turned Him Upside Down
The 5-year-old boy was wrapped with packing tape so he couldn't move from his wooden chair, cops say.

Florida - Larkdale Elementary teacher accused of punching, spanking students
A Larkdale Elementary teacher has been accused of spanking children with rulers and punching two 7-year-old girls in their arms. District officials confirmed that Torrance Smith, 41, a second-grade teacher at the Fort Lauderdale school, has been under investigation since last Thursday for an allegation of battery involving a student.

Ohio - Bermudians Seek Justice for Autistic Son
A Bermudian couple living in Ohio has started a Facebook campaign to help draw attention, and seek justice, for their autistic son, whom they say was abused by a teacher.

Maryland - School Decides to Stop Pursuing Charges Against 12-year-old Autistic Student
The Frederick County School board says it will drop charges against a 12-year-old autistic student at Thurmont Middle School. That's according to the boy's mother. On Tuesday, Cameron Mears was difficult in class. He landed in the guidance office where he landed a punch on the Vice-Principal.

Alabama - Mom Sues Birmingham Schools, Says Son Beaten at Barrett Elementary
A Birmingham woman who claims her son was beaten with a belt by his second-grade teacher for missing six answers on a test has filed a federal lawsuit against the teacher and the Birmingham city school system.

Nevada - Pahrump School Officials Charged in Special Ed Abuse Case
Four faculty members at Floyd Elementary School in Pahrump have been formally charged in connection with the alleged abuse of children in a special education class, Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi announced today.

Nevada - Four Nye County School Faculty Members Accused of Child Abuse/ Neglect
The Nye County Sheriffs Office arrested four faculty members at Floyd Elementary School on Tuesday after a teacher and two aides were accused of physically punishing students with mental and physical disabilities, officials said. Teacher Sarah Hopkins, 52, aides Phyllis DuShane, 73, and Kathryn Cummings, 56, and Principal Holly Lepisto, 53, were arrested Tuesday on five counts of child abuse/neglect and one count conspiracy to commit a crime, a Sheriffs Office news release said.

Nevada - Police Arrest Pahrump Teacher, Principal
The Nye County Sheriff's Office has arrested a teacher, her aides and the school's principal on four charges of child abuse. Police said special education teacher Sarah Jane Hopkins, 52, at Floyd Elementary School in Pahrump had been physically punishing her mentally and physically disabled students for at least the past two years.

Maine - Disability Rights Center Challenges Handling of Restraint Complaints
This is part of an occasional series on discipline in Maine schools.

Nevada - Fallon Teacher's Aide Charged with arrested on child abuse charges
Loretta Anne Schmelz, 47, faces six felony counts of child abuse in connection with several alleged incidents at the school between May, 2009 and January, 2010. Court documents say other aides approached the teacher of the special education class where Schmelz was working to complain about her alleged behavior. Authorities say the students in the special education class are severely disabled and unable to communicate.

Nevada - Parallel Investigation Into Allegations of Abuse at a Fallon School
The aides first approached the classroom teacher on January 19 to report the allegations. The teacher reported them to principal Robert Freeman, who asked for written statements from the aides. Two weeks later, he met with other district officials. But no one reported the allegations to the Division of Child and Family Services until February 18, nearly one month later. Under state law, school district employees, members of the clergy, attorneys and doctors are considered "mandatory reporters. Anybody who becomes aware of this information at the school has to tell law enforcement within 24 hours," said Craig Mingay, the deputy district attorney who is handling the case.


Florida - EDITORIAL: Arresting Development
An incident involving a disorderly autistic student at Merritt Brown Middle School last week should not have involved law enforcement. It is absurd that an 11-year-old special-needs child was arrested and charged with two counts of felony battery. He wasn’t brandishing a weapon. He wasn’t roaming the halls on a rampage. Rather, he had a disability-related violent outburst toward the principal and vice principal in their offices and the cafeteria.

Maine - Acadia Director Defends Policy of Not Restraining Patients
The “compassionate act of working in mental health” should not entail the risk of personal assault and injury for either patients or staff, he said. In the past, mental health workers have employed many techniques now proven to be more harmful than helpful, he said, including induced insulin shock and ice baths. The use of restraints, he said, is coming to be recognized as one of these misguided techniques.


Nebraska - Jailed, Accused Of Using Choke-Hold Restraint, Witnesses Say Donna Thomas Went Too Far
A Council Bluffs high school teacher has been jailed on accusations that she put a special needs student in a choke hold. According to court documents, witnesses said it isn’t the first time the teacher has done it.

Iowa - Three Schools Cited for Using Restraints on Unruly kids
Teachers in three Iowa school districts have broken new state rules that limit the use of physical force and "timeout" rooms to discipline unruly students, state education records show.

Death Goes to School, Part 1
I hardly ever want to read about gruesome deaths or torture, unless they're part of a juicy detective story. And if I did want to read about them, it would never have occurred to me to look at testimony by the Government Accountability Office before a committee of the House of Representatives. Now I know better, because recently-released testimony has some of the most disturbing material I've ever read. You can see it at http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/palmbeachpost/pdf/gaoreport.pdf. The title of the report is "Seclusions and Restraints: Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers". If you've been reading about the horrors of the Irish reform schools in the past, this report will make you aware that we in the United States are doing just as badly, and what's more we're doing it right now.

Death Goes to School, Part 2
Yesterday I described some of the information in the Government Accountability Office testimony before the House of Representatives, involving deaths and injuries of schoolchildren physically restrained by school staff (you can read this testimony at http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/palmbeachpost/pdf/gaoreport.pdf ). Today, I want to start discussing some of the history and belief systems behind the potentially lethal use of restraint methods with children.

Tennessee - Special-ed Vehicles Had Seatbelts in Past
"We are used to putting them in seatbelts so we don't have to worry about them. If you have a runner (a child who leaves the seat and runs inside the bus), even if you have an aide on board, you have to be constantly looking to make sure the child does not get up."

Texas - Special Ed Students Disciplined Twice As Often
The first time Spencer Klintworth was suspended from school, his mother was astonished: The kindergartner has brain damage and is in special education. Then it happened again. And again. By the end of the 2009-2010 school year, he'd been sent home by the Cypress-Fairbanks school district five times, Debbie Klintworth says.

Iowa - Records Show 3 Iowa Schools Broke Restraint Rules
New state rules that limit using physical force to discipline unruly students have been broken by teachers in at least three Iowa school districts, according to state education records.

Ohio - Restraint and Seclusion News
This section provides updates on changes and activities in restraint and seclusion practices and policies. The most current update is listed first.

Connecticut - Court Case of Woman Accused of Hurting Autistic Girl Continued
For a 9-year-old autistic girl, hell was riding the school bus every day. That's when, police say, the 24-year-old bus monitor, Jennifer Davila, would torture the young girl, pinching her, poking her, wrenching the girl's small fingers as they drove along the route from the girl's home to school and back again. For the girl's mother it was a nightmare come true.

Maine - 'I Thought I Was the Only One': 3 Kids, 3 Years, Nearly 100 School Restraints
Michael Corbeau vividly remembers being restrained when he was a student in Scarborough. "The hardest part is when you're going down," Corbeau said. "They count, so you know it's coming. You struggle and fight. That's how people break things, that's when kids and teachers get hurt."

Florida - Restaurant rage? South Florida Man Arrested in Alleged Olive Garden in Boynton Beach
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/restaurant-rage-south-florida-man-arrested-in-alleged-848257.html and http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/autistic-boys-father-talks-about-restaurant-attack-850915.html Also see: Copy of police report

Florida - Sanctioned Venice Teacher May Return to Classroom
Under a settlement agreement struck with the state education department, O'Neill would serve a two-year probation, receive a letter of reprimand and pay a $500 fine. She would also have to pay $600 to cover the cost of probation.


New Jersey - Restraints Used by NJ Educators to Curb Unruly Behavior Under Scrutiny
It’s been called “the dirty little secret” of special education. New Jersey gives public and private schools a virtual free pass to forcibly restrain unruly children with disabilities. School employees can use “bear hugs,” “basket holds” and “take downs” … which sound more like wrestling moves than anything you’d expect to see in school … and keep children confined in “time-out” rooms until they calm down. Last year, congressional investigators uncovered hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and at least 20 deaths related to the use of restraints and seclusion in U.S. schools since 1990.

Georgia - Mother of Autistic Child Arrested for Failure to Comply with School Board
The case of Betsy Loiacono versus the Houston County Georgia School Board has been going on for over a year now, but the stakes just recently got higher for Loiacono after she was arrested on May 18th by the Houston County Sheriff's Office. Loiacono's attorney in the case, Hatcher Graham, indicated the arrest came after repeated attempts to compromise with the school board went ignored. An arrest warrant was issued for Loiacono on the grounds that she has failed to fulfill her parental responsibilities as they relate to Georgia's mandatory school attendance requirement. Loiacono turned herself in to authorities the next day.


Texas - Special Needs Student Restrained 66 Times In 19 Days
Garrett Fowlers' mother is the first to admit he can be a handful. The first grader has autism, aspergers and attention deficit disorder. Donna Fowler adopted Garret at birth. She's been a single parent since her husband's death in 2007. "Being a single parent I don't have a lot of options," Fowler said. "That's just the bottom line we're at everybody’s mercy." Fowler gave Humble I.S.D. her permission to restrain Garrett. Being a special education teacher herself Fowler said she thought her little boy would only be restrained in emergency situations. But according to Fowler's attorney Humble I.S.D's own records show Garrett was restrained 66 times in just a 19 day period.

Idaho - School Has Autistic Child Arrested
Charges of battery against an eight-year-old with Asperger's syndrome have been dropped, and her parents are now pursuing legal action against the Idaho school district that called law enforcement. What's wrong with this picture? Evelyn Towry was told she couldn't wear her special jacket in class last week, prompting the little girl (whose diagnosis of Asperger's falls on the autism spectrum) to become resistent and act out in the classroom. But instead of telling the child she could just wear her jacket, school officials said they called the cops, alleging she assaulted school staff during the incident.

Texas - FOX 26’s Randy Wallace Continued His Series on Special Education in Texas
On Monday May 3, 2010, KRIV-TV FOX 26’s Randy Wallace continued his series on special education in Texas. The story centers around an 8 year special education student in the Humble ISD that was repeatedly restrained for misbehavior by staff. Per the district’s own documentation, the student was restrained an incredible of 66 times in 18 days. The mother was left with no other alternative but to place him in a therapeutic residential placement and was forced to seek reimbursement from the school system. Oh, and by the way he was restrained only 4 times in 6 months at that facility.


Georgia - School Board Eyes Ban on Seclusion in Schools
The Georgia Board of Education is considering banning solitary confinement in schools and limiting the use of restraint to calm misbehaving students, which would mark the first time the state has addressed the controversial practices.

Virginia - Autism Teacher Charged With Child Cruelty
A pre-school autism teacher has been suspended pending charges of child cruelty and a lesser charge of child abuse, according to Fairfax County Police. Police said Jennah Christine Billeter, of Fairfax, physically assaulted and mistreated two boys, ages four and five, who were assigned to her class at Deer Park Elementary School, in the Centreville area.


Maine - A Reporter Has Taken on the Mission of Exposing the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in our Public Schools


New Jersey - Three Part Series on Restraint

Special Ed Advocates, Teachers Divided on Use of Force on Kids
Parents Face Obstacles Over Restraint Law
Mom Takes on Restraints


Arizona - Mom Alleges Gilbert School Abused Autistic Daughter, 5
On Tuesday, Anderson told the five-member governing board that her 5-year-old daughter, who has an autism spectrum disorder, has been coming home with bruises and is afraid to go to school. At one point in September, her daughter came home from school with a bruise on her arm that was shaped like a handprint. Bruises have continued to appear since.


New York - The Jonathan Carey Story: The Killing of an Innocent Boy with Autism


Colorado - Student's Hand Duct Taped to Wheelchair
A Southern Colorado teacher's actions are being investigated by the Legal Center for People with Disabilities, because she used duct tape to restrain a student's arm to his wheelchair.


Texas - Teacher-Beats-Student Video; Allegedly Lashed out After Student Teased Girl
When their teacher backed one of their classmates into a corner, students at a Houston-area charter school thought it was a joke - but it allegedly turned into a shocking and brutal beating that was caught on tape.


Pennsylvania - Report on Prone restraint in Children's Facilities


Texas - Warrant out for Waco ISD Teacher's Arrest
An arrest warrant has been issued for a Waco ISD teacher after she allegedly slapped a special needs student in her class. Police informed Waco ISD that the teacher, Katheryn Shurley, is charged with injury to a child. Shurley admitted to slapping the child three times in class at Meadowbrook Elementary.


Florida - Boy Accused of Assault With Rubber Band
A 13-year-old student in Orange County, Fla., was suspended for 10 days and could be banned from school over an alleged assault with a rubber band, according to a WKMG Local 6 News report. Robert Gomez, a seventh-grader at Liberty Middle School, said he picked up a rubber band at school and slipped it on his wrist. Gomez said when his science teacher demanded the rubber band, the student said he tossed it on her desk. After the incident, Gomez received a 10-day suspension for threatening his teacher with what administrators say was a weapon, Local 6 News reported.

This page last updated on Monday 16 July 2012