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Entries in Special Needs (2)

Friday
Mar302012

Alabama Teachers Caught Mistreating Special Needs Student

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEWTON, Ala.) -- Two Alabama teachers have been put on administrative leave after the mother of a 10-year-old student with cerebral palsy attached an audio recorder to the bottom of his wheelchair and caught them scolding him about drooling, among other things.

Jose Salinas, or as his friends and family call him, "Little Joe," is in fourth grade at Wicksburg High School, a public school in Newton, Ala.  Jose has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair at school, but is high-functioning and can walk with a walker.

His mother, Melisha Salinas, a nursing student, knew he didn't enjoy school and would come home sick many days, but he would tell her he had a "good day" every day when she asked.

A psychologist told Salinas, 31, the problem could be stress or anxiety, but she didn't know the source.

One day, a little girl in Jose's class who lives in the neighborhood told Salinas that the teacher's aide had been mean to Jose three times that day.  Salinas got Jose to confirm two of the instances, but wanted to be sure.

"I went ahead and put a recorder on his wheelchair to make sure for myself," Salinas said.

She recorded several days of class in mid-March and was "shocked" with what she heard.

"You drooled on the paper," a male's voice, allegedly that of teacher's aide Drew Faircloth, could be heard saying impatiently.  "That's disgusting."

"Keep your mouth closed and don't drool on my paper," a woman's voice said, allegedly teacher Alicia Brown.  "I do not want to touch your drool.  Do you understand that?  Obviously, you don't."

Over the three days of recordings, Salinas said Jose received about 20 minutes of actual instruction and spent almost the entire day sitting in silence with no one speaking to him.

After Salinas listened to the recordings, she took Jose out of school.  She said that when Jose is at home, she can't get him to stop talking, but in the tapes he was "dead silent."

Salinas took the recordings to the school board and the teachers were put on administrative leave.  But last Friday, the teachers were back at school.

"They were back at the school and my children were there so I got them out of school and so did several angry parents," Salinas said.  "I just lost all hope.  Nobody was listening to me."

The normally "shy and reserved" Salinas had hoped to handle the matter quietly with the school, but when the teachers were returned to their positions, she shared the recordings with her local newspaper.

By Monday, the teachers were back on paid administrative leave, and on April 9 the school board will meet to decide what further action to take.

For now, Jose is back in school and his mother said he has been doing much better.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug172011

Special Needs Girl Sues School for Forcing Her to Apologize to Her Rapist

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(REPUBLIC, Mo.) -- A special needs student who was suspended and forced to write an apology to a boy she accused of raping her is now suing the school because she was raped a second time when she was allowed to return to school.

The seventh-grader in Republic, Mo., was suspended a second time when she accused the boy of raping her a second time, according to court documents.

A police investigation later substantiated her claims and the boy confessed to the assaults, court papers state.

Nevertheless, the Republic School District in Missouri responded to the suit on July 29, calling the allegations "frivolous" and having "no basis in fact or law."

The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages but does not state a specific amount being sought.

The family of the girl, whose identity was withheld because she is a minor and the alleged victim of a sexual assault, states in court papers that the girl was repeatedly molested by a fellow student on school grounds from 2008-2009. It took a violent rape for the girl to speak up and report the abuse to administrators. The girl and her mother met with school officials, but the girl later backtracked on her claims in a meeting at which her mother was not present.

"She finally told school officials what they wanted to hear because they wouldn't believe her," the lawsuit says.

The school allegedly took no steps to investigative the claims.

A psychological report in the girl's school file states that she "would forego her own needs and wishes to satisfy the requests of others around so that she can be accepted."

She returned to school the following year and despite requests from her mother to the school, extra security was not provided.

Upon her return, the sexual assaults resumed and went unreported due to the girl's fear of expulsion, court papers state. Only after being dragged to the back of the school library and forcibly raped did the girl finally tell administrators.

The girl's mother took her to the Child Advocacy Center where she underwent a forensic interview and exam, which corroborated her claims.

Nevertheless, the school suspended the girl a second time for disrespectful conduct and public display of affection, according to the lawsuit.

The Republic Police Department took a sample of semen from the accused student, and it proved to be a match.

The student has since pleaded guilty to charges in juvenile court.

The Republic School District and M. Douglas Harpool, the plaintiff's attorney, did not respond for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio