Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Elementary School Student Who Has Attacked Teachers, Staff Members Remains In Class Despite Parent Complaints

Should a child prone to frequent violent outbursts be allowed to remain in a mainstream classroom?

At a Granada Hills elementary school, this is the question that parents and staff members are asking after a student who has physically attacked at least three staff members, fracturing the arm of one, has been allowed to remain in class despite the complaints of anxious parents.

But LAUSD policies leave little alternative, and the child, who according to parent witnesses exhibits extreme behavioral issues on a daily basis, has caused disruptions, anxiety, and injuries to staff and others since the school year began in August.

"I feel worried for my child's safety," said one parent at the school who has a child in the same classroom. "I have a real bug in my stomach. You never know what sort of thing this child could get from home and bring to school."

 Officals at the school and Los Angeles Unified School District would not comment, citing the student's rights of privacy.

The child in question, according to sources close to the matter, has so far caused injury to one teacher significant enough to require medical leave, and has also physically attacked more than one staff member. The teacher, who suffered a sprained neck in an altercation with the student in September, went on medical leave until late November, leaving the class with a long-term substitute.  An aide who suffered a fractured arm while attempting to subdue the student is currently on leave.

The child, who is in third grade, was moved to a general education classroom for gifted students after winter break. The student has two aides assigned to handle his outbursts, but sources say that neither the aides, the original teacher, the long-term substitute, nor his current teacher in the gifted classroom have any special training in handling a child with severe behavioral issues.

The child has not yet caused serious injury to another student, but, says a witness who requested anonymity, "It's just a matter of time."

Teachers and staff members aren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly, but parents at the school have expressed frustration and anxiety over the situation in which a child with severe behavioral issues has remained in what they feel is an inadequately equipped classroom.

Sources report that the child in question has what's known as an IEP, or Individual Education Plan. An IEP is designed to determine the appropriate placement and services needed for a student with a disability. However, parental consent is required to actually implement the education plan -- consent which in this particular case has not been given.

Because LAUSD can neither deny a child education nor force a parent to accept special education placement for their child, without parental cooperation, the school has no option but to place the child in a regular classroom. And because the child has an IEP which outlines his behavioral problems, he cannot be expelled for exhibiting the behaviors which would get a child without an IEP expelled.

"That IEP," according to one district employee, "is like giving (the student) the keys to the castle."

One parent witness, who also requested not to be named, said she saw the child kicking and hitting the school principal as he attempted to close a door. The principal's only response was a verbal reprimand of "Don't do that, that's not right." Another parent reports that her child saw the disabled student punching another child in the stomach.

Says a frustrated parent, "Imagine how we feel, leaving our children here in this unhealthy environment. Imagine being a teacher with a classroom full of children ready to learn, only to have this child run in and out of the class, disrupting it whenever he pleases, because 'he has the right to an education.'" What about the other kids? Don't they have a right to an education? Their right is being compromised, their safety is being compromised, and so is the safety of the teachers."

7 comments:

  1. Sounds like the kid may be guilty of assault. The aggrieved parties should press charges with the police, and consider taking the parents to civil court to recover damages.

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  2. Which school??!!??

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  3. So even with punching another child in the stomach (with witnesses), he's still able to stay in school? There are other options such as online classes that will still allow the child to have an education. Why aren't these other options being explored, or is the parent still refusing? Obviously the parent doesn't understand if things escalate (and you would think all the injuries he's already inflicted would be considered that) any more, it isn't good for her child.

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  4. Yes, every child deserves to get an education I believe the law in question is called FAPE (Free and (KEY WORD -Appropriate ) Public Education. Yet this placement sounds like it was totally inappropriate! Unfortunately the law has been written so that parents have all the rights. The rights of the other children, staff etc. mean NOTHING. Most likely this situation has been mishandled BEFORE the student even got to the current school and LAUSD is trying to cover it's ass faster than you can spell "l-a-w-s-u-i-t" . Good authority has it that this child has since been removed from class/school after threatening the life of a downtown district employee, in which the incident drew blood. Meanwhile the teacher and fellow students are stuck having to relearn and play catch up, plus regain a sense of normalcy in the classroom. The only word that comes to mind is unfair and unjust-to all. It is a testament to the strength of the school that they are able to weather a storm like this, hopefully they can start to pick up the pieces and that this is not just the eye that they are sitting in.

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  5. WHY HASN'T THIS CHILD'S PARENT BEEN HELD ACCOUNTABLE ??? THE PRINCIPAL OF THIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HAS RECEIVED SEVERE BACK INJURIES FROM THIS CHILD AND HAS NOT BEEN IN HIS ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION FOR THE PAST SEVERAL WEEKS. DENIAL, DENIAL, DENIAL ON THE FAMILY'S PART TO REACH OUT AND SAVE THIS CHILD WITH THE MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES HE SO RICHLY DESERVES. SHAME ON YOU!!!

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  6. Can't one of the people who has been attacked call the police and file charges?

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