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August 04, 2008


Mary Cottle

My "behaviorally disabled" 12-year-old child's school-appointed Aid has filed battery charges against him for hitting her with a Capri Sun juice container. The prosecutor's office is aggressively pursuing the charges. His Public Defender's Office lawyer hopes out of a jury of twelve people someone will be sympathetic. And while I am simultaneously terrified and angry that the school personnel charged with caring for my son have filed this charge I think I understand it may be about her wanted to sue the school district for "not protecting her!"

Teresa St.Angelo

I cannot tell you how much I agree with the article when it talks about the aspect that for an injury to occur there would have to be a lack of training, staffing or planning.
I have noticed the teachers that do not have a plan or the enthusiasm behind finding different ways to help the students are the ones who get injured by a student.

Mario Fortuna

My wife is a mod/sev SPECED teacher at the H.S. level with non-verbal, male students w/ multiple disabilities who are as old as 21. The largest boy (6'3"/250lb.) in class normally has a one on one, however, it seems the non-public school is cutting corners here in California and now my wife (she is 5'2"/120+lb.)finds herself, as the class teacher, responsible for this massive student as well as other students sometimes by herself. She tells me that to try to stop him as he is running away she grabs on to the back of his waistband and just gets dragged along. She's been bitten, punched, kicked,and other "mishaps" have been inflicted upon her that I don't even want to put into words. I completely agree that it is a wholesale lack of advanced training. They go over the text in the workbook, but they do not do hands-on training on self-protection and client/student non-injurious restraint methods. I just figure it's a matter of time before she gets injured; possibly permanently. I have suggested to her that she tells management about this problem, except she is afraid of losing her job. Really, they already know. While, I am afraid of losing her. I'd rather live in a camper with a healthy partner than holed-up taking care of an invalid wife. I'd like her to quit and find another job in a safely run school where training is complete, but my job is a little tenuous and she's afraid. What's a husband to do?

Stacie Beezley

Hi I have been a teacher in an autism program for 6 years, and have taught severe disabilities altogether for 16 years. throughout the last six years, I have been hit, kicked, bit, hair pulled out, pinched, scratched, pushed, slapped in face, head butted, and spit on. the district I work for turns a blind eye. I am sent to safety training every year, for agressive students, and so are my 4 aides. I am well trained in autism and have taken extended autism courses, I also have a masters degree in special education. We keep are students safe at all costs. My problem is Why do I and my students have the right to a safe and enriching educational environment in a public school?
I have worked with behaviors for 25 years, juvenile hall, group homes, and have never been physically hurt.
My family, therapist, friends, doctors, shake their heads at the abuse
I have endured for the sake of my students. I do not blame my aggressive students or their parents. Many of my parents have the same hopelessness I have about the aggression, and my heart goes out to them.

In addition, I have guilt for the damage to other children with autism that are not aggressive and see the agressive acts on teachers and other students. they are also victoms in the classroom.
I have seen students stomach punched, bit, scratched, pinched, and their hair pulled by other students.

The safety training has failed us, the system has failed us.

The students and I are not in a safe environment.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD, I have been put on blood pressure medication and have put in for a transfer to another program next year. It saddens me to jump ship, but I have three sons who need a healthy mom...

Emma E.

I have recently applied to a college that has a teaching program. I am interested in Special Education. I am presently a Substitute Teacher. I have worked with Special Ed students for about 3 years, never been assaulted, yet. I have though, heard many horror stories first hand from teachers, but I think the behavior of the student depends somewhat on the neighborhood that the school is in. Having said that, I am thinking about changing my focus to regular education maybe safer.

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