PADDED CELL?

PADDED CELL?
National Disability Rights Network Report- School Is Not Supposed to Hurt

SECLUSION ROOM OR QUIET ROOM?

SECLUSION ROOM OR QUIET ROOM?
EAST GOSHEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, WEST CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA

TO BE PRONE OR NOT TO BE PRONE? THAT IS THE QUESTION.

TO BE PRONE OR NOT TO BE PRONE? THAT IS THE QUESTION.
Abbie was Restrained 14 times in one day for noncompliance issues

POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION COST TOO MUCH! RESTRAIN HIM IN THE RIFTON CHAIR INSTEAD.

POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION COST TOO MUCH! RESTRAIN HIM IN THE RIFTON CHAIR INSTEAD.
CCIU/EAST BRADFORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, WEST CHESTER, PA.

QUIET ROOM OR CELL?

QUIET ROOM OR CELL?
NAA: The Restraint and Prevention Symposium

ABUSE IS ABUSE, REGARDLESS OF WHO IT IS

ABUSE IS ABUSE, REGARDLESS OF WHO IT IS
Man Arrested For Abusing His Autistic Son

WELCOME TO RHODE ISLAND FAMILIES AGAINST RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION

The abuse of children at the hands of school personnel has risen over the last two decades and the nation is outraged. The children most likely to be abused are children with disabilities. Children who are poor and homeless are not excluded from the abuse.

The abuse presents itself in various forms -restraints, seclusion, suffocation, and sometimes even death. Last year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation found hundreds of allegations that children have been abused and some have died as a result of the misuses of restraints and seclusion in public and private schools, often by untrained staff. United States representatives George Miller and Cathy McMorris Rodgers introduced the "Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in School Act" (HR 4247) and senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut introduced it's sister bill, (S. 2860). This legislation is the first national effort to address the problem and ensure the safety of students and school staff.

The abuse of a child in school can easily escalate into retaliation against the parent(s), caretaker(s), or advocate. Retaliation can include the denial educational services, the denial of a child to attend school, an illegal eviction from your residence, neglect and abuse charges filed against you by the school, a loss of employment, removal of the child from the caretaker by child protective services, false charges against the parent, caregiver, or advocate that can lead to an arrest, etc.

We must stop asking, "What are they (everyone else) going to do about the abuse of our nation's children?" While the rest of America sits blind, not necessarily their fault, they are under the assumption that their tax dollars are paying for an education without abuse, restraints, seclusion, or retaliation. American citizens believe that when they send their children to school, they will be safe, not abused or killed by school personnel.

It is our belief that all children are entitled to a free, appropriate, and SAFE education in the public and private school system, as specified under IDEA. We need your support in effecting change within the system.

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

NATIONAL BACKGROUND CHECKS (BCI) LEGISLATION HAS BEEN INTRODUCED, YOUR SUPPORT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE SURE IT BECOMES LAW TO HELP PROTECT OUR CHILDREN ON SCHOOL BUSES, SCHOOL CAFETERIAS, ETC.











 (Giarrusso on L, Arizona J. on R)

On January 29, 2014, State Rep. Anthony Giarrusso (R-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) introduced legislation requiring national background checks for all employees of firms contracting with Rhode Island school districts, with “the full support” of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. 

Currently, federal background checks are not required for bus monitors or drivers.  School personnel, such as, teachers, are required to undergo National BCI checks, the requirement should extend to bus personnel that come in contact with our children. “We have a growing trove of criminal background information available to us, locally and nationally, but we fail to take full advantage of it when vetting those who come into contact with school children,” Mr. Giarrusso wrote in a press release.  Investigation revealed a loophole in state law which required background checks only for direct employees of public and private schools and school districts. The new legislation, developed in cooperation with the Attorney General, would expand the definition of employment to include contract employees and employees of third-party contractors, such as school bus drivers and monitors, cafeteria staff, etc.

At the cornerstone of this bill were two incidences that occurred at the end of last year- the assault of 13 year old Arizona Jacobowitz, diagnosed with autism and limited communication skills, on October 7, 2013 by First Student bus monitor, James Canton and First Student bus driver, James Miller, in Barrington, R.I. and the arrest of Scott Sanford, a 35 year old Ocean State Transit School Bus monitor, of East Greenwich, on the afternoon of Oct. 31, along with 10 others, as part of a Rhode Island State Police investigation into child pornography, Mr. Giarrusso’s 11 year old son rode on Sanford’s bus.

“I cannot imagine a scenario in which this legislation does not receive overwhelming support in the House and Senate this year. This bill expands protection of school children across the state, and helps ensure our kids are not placed in vulnerable situations with people hired to care and look after them,” Giarrusso said.  Giarrusso’s bill was co-sponsored by four Democratic legislators, State Representatives Anastasia Williams (D-Providence), John G. Edwards (D-Portsmouth, Tiverton), Patricia Serpa (D- West Warwick, Coventry, and Warwick) and Donald Lally (D-Narragansett, South Kingstown).

Rhode Islanders and citizens from other states that believe children should be protected on the school bus as well as in school should pick up the telephone or send a letter to your legislator requesting that they introduce and/or support this bill and other bills that protect our most important commodity-our children.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

ADVERTISEMENT

NEED A JOB? 

COMMITTED MURDER?  RAPE?  ROBBERY?  BATTERY?  ASSAULT? ARSON? PEDOPHILE? INTEREST IN PORNOGRAPHY?.............IN ANOTHER STATE?

IT’S O.K!!!!   COME TO RHODE ISLAND.  STATEWIDE-FIRST STUDENT AND OCEAN STATE TRANSIT WILL HIRE YOU!!

WORK FOR THE RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (R.I.D.E): STATEWIDE-FIRST STUDENT & OCEAN STATE TRANSIT- TRANSPAR SCHOOL BUS TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM.

CALL NOW: 401-222-5024 (R.I.D.E-STATEWIDE TRANSPORTATION)

NATIONAL BCI CHECKS are not required in Rhode Island to secure a position as a bus driver, bus monitor, or bus aide.  What this means is that the person driving your child’s school bus or your child’s monitor or aide could have committed murder, rape, battery, assault, arson, or other crime in another state; be a pedophile or have an interest in pornography.  Statewide-First Student does not require National BCI checks during the hiring process and due to the costs refuses to perform a complete background check.  The Rhode Island General Assembly initiated the Statewide-First Student Transportation System and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) oversees it.  The most important focus of the General Assembly and RIDE was saving money due to limited funding; both failed to give consideration to the protection of our children.  State Law Makers and School Districts need to realize that school begins with the school bus and bus personnel should be required to undergo vigorous background checks and training as personnel working within school buildings.  In order to protect our children on school buses, we need- Comprehensive and Specific Training of bus personnel, National BCI checks, and video cameras.

Call or write your State Law Makers (Representatives, Senators,....)and encourage them to support Bills that make National BCI checks a requirement to hiring school bus personnel; that support video cameras on school buses; and that require comprehensive and specific training of all bus personnel.

“YOUR CHILD’S LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.”

(This is not an actual advertisement, but the facts are true and without safeguards in place, our children will continue to ride unsafe school buses.)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

NATIONAL AUTISM ASSOCIATION OFFER WAYS TO HELP KEEP OUR KIDS SAFE ON SCHOOL BUSES

So what can we do to help ensure the safety of our kids?

http://www.turnto10.com" title="News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England">News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England
  • Talk to your school district:  Ask if there is a camera installed on your child’s bus, ask how long the recordings are archived and how you can request to review video if you have reason to suspect a problem.  Confirm that personnel background checks are done and ask if bus drivers and monitors receive specialized training prior to working with children with disabilities.
  • Introduce yourself to your child’s bus staff, relay any concerns they should be aware of regarding your child’s individual needs.  For example, “Please use an eyes on, hands off approach,” or “My child needs to be supervised, but does not like to be touched.”
  • Observe your child:  Watch for changes in behavior or anxiety when getting on or off the bus.  Remember that this could be due to issues at school as well, so be sure to have discussions with both school and bus staff about your concerns.
  • Follow your gut – and the bus!  If you feel that something just isn’t right, drive the bus route at random times and monitor activity.
  • Ask the school to assign a buddy or peer pal on the bus.
  • Use photos of the bus driver and monitor as part of a social story for your child about going to school.  This will also allow your child to communicate with you using those same pictures.
  • If you notice any signs of abuse, take pictures, document everything, and report it to your local police department.
  • Work with school staff/speech pathologists to help your non-verbal child develop an effective means of communication.  Request an Assistive Technology Assessment if you feel your child would benefit from a communication/voice output device.
  • Provide a Student Profile Form to your school and bus staff with information specific to your child’s individual needs.
While most people who choose to work with children with special needs are very caring and compassionate individuals, there are those who take advantage of the fact that our non-verbal children are the ultimate victims of abuse because they are unable to report crimes against them.  It is crucial for us as parents to put every possible safeguard into place.

Read more: http://nationalautismassociation.org/is-your-child-safe-on-the-school-bus/

UPDATE: BUS DRIVER AND MONITOR GETS OFF AFTER ASSAULT ON AUTISTIC CHILD

Due To Autistic Boys Inability to Talk, Bus Monitor and Driver Are Free To Go

On October 7, 2013, 13 year old Arizona Jacobowitz was assaulted on his school bus by his bus monitor, James Caton, and parents believe that the bus driver, James Miller, stopped the bus at some point and assisted the bus monitor; the bus driver had blood on his hands.  The local and State Police failed to check the bus driver’s hands for blood or wounds.  It is not known what actually occurred on the school bus, because Arizona has limited verbal ability and there were no cameras on the school bus.  The bus driver, James Miller, and two monitors, James Caton and Susan Souza, allege that Arizona began the incident.  Prior to working with Arizona, the neither bus monitors, nor bus driver received specific training on how to work with Arizona. 

The Attorney General’s Office, Paul Karnes, and State Police closed the case on Monday, December 2, 2013 due to lack of evidence-Arizona’s inability to communicate what happened and the lack of videotape footage.
In a letter to Arizona’s parents, the Barrington Public School department stated, “Neither cameras on the bus nor national background checks of bus personnel is required under Rhode Island State Law.”  Cameras and national background checks are not required by law and a decision that is made by each city or town.  Arizona’s parents believe that each city or town should be concerned about their student’s safety on school buses prior to an incident occurring.  Preventative measures, such as, cameras on school buses, training prior to working children with special needs, and national BCI checks can save parents and the public a lot of questions.  Arizona’s parents said that they will file a civil complaint and will not allow Arizona to ride State wide-First Student buses until safeguards are in place.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

BY THE WAY, DID YOUR CHILD SPEND HIS OR HER SCHOOL DAY IN CLASS OR IN A SECLUSION ROOM?


Does Your School Have A Secret Seclusion Room That They Forgot To Tell You About?
Last year the Huffington Post reported that families across the country are challenging a system they say has not only failed to educate and protect their children, but also endangered their lives. According to the Huffington Post, dozens of lawsuits have been filed against schools and districts as parents speak out against physical disciplinary methods that have injured or killed their children, ABC News reports. The families claim that an extensive abuse of harsh methods to restrain misbehaving students -- many with special needs -- has become a chronic problem in U.S. schools.  ABC's family interviews reflect the findings of a federal report released in March.  The Huffington Post further reports that Education Department officials found that schools physically restrained students 39,000 times during the 2009-2010 school year, and about 70 percent of cases involved students with special needs.  Schools also are reducing nonviolent intervention training, according to a survey by the American Association of School Administrators, as states lose grants and face budget cuts.  There are currently no federal standards for the use of seclusion and restraint in schools, and only 17 states have explicit laws that limit the use of such punitive measures.  Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/30/school-seclusion-restraint_n_2219091.html  On November 20, 2013, NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, Sabrina Kuriakose, in her report, “Seclusion Rooms Used 23,000 Times in Connecticut Schools,” reported that numbers from the State Department of Education show it's happening much more than experts and advocates thought. James McGaughey is the head of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. "That's just a huge number. So it ought to be high on everybody's agenda to deal with it,” said McGaughey.  Records show in the 2011-2012 school year, Connecticut children were put in isolation rooms more than 23,000 times.  “It's happening in almost every school district,” said Dr. Melissa Olive, an autism expert and founder of Applied Behavioral Strategies.  That number includes both emergency seclusions and seclusions in which staff is following an individualized educational program signed off on by parents for their kids with special needs, known as an IEP. But state investigations reveal that at Farm Hill School in Middletown, where a scream room controversy erupted last year, parents of only four of the fifteen children put in scream rooms agreed to the technique, and investigators said “Children who were secluded were both special education and regular education students."  Skeptics argue there is no evidence seclusion is effective, and they worry the rooms may do more harm than good.  "Not a good strategy. Not only does it have human rights implications, there's always a possibility of somebody being injured in the process of putting them into restraint or seclusion and there's also a psychological trauma that accompanies that,” said McGaughey.  To look up the use of seclusion rooms in schools across the state and to Read Full Story, click on http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/investigations/LWRD-Seclusion-Rooms-Used-23000-Times-in-Connecticut-Schools-232611351.html  See video below:



A BUS AIDE IS ACCUSED OF BREAKING A 5 YEAR OLD AUTISTIC BOY'S ARM



Connor Shirangi (credit: Desiree Johnston-Shirangi)Photo by CBS New York

CBS New York reports that a school bus attendant has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a 5-year-old autistic boy.  Richard Mason, 39, a bus aide for Acme Bus Corp., grabbed Connor Shirangi’s arm and twisted it behind his back while trying to discipline the boy, police said.  Connor’s arm was fractured and he also sustained bruises to his face and abdomen, WCBS Sophia Hall reported.  According to CBS, the Commack school district issued the following statement Thursday: Yesterday we were advised that an incident occurred involving Commack students on a school bus operated by ACME Bus Company. ACME had been contracted by the District to provide mini-bus transportation for Commack students. The defendant is an employee of ACME not the School District.  As soon as we learned of the allegations, we immediately confirmed that the defendant had been removed from any and all District routes and will have no contact with our students. ACME has assured the District that the driver assistant had been properly screened and trained and that he had no prior incidents. The District will fully cooperate with the police in their investigation and, as always, the safety and welfare of children is our paramount concern.”  To Read Full Story and watch video, Click on http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/10/03/l-i-school-bus-attendant-accused-of-breaking-5-year-old-autistic-boys-arm/

Saturday, November 30, 2013

ENSURING THE SAFETY OF SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS, SCHOOL BUS PESONNEL, AND OTHER STUDENTS ON SCHOOL BUSES.


WHO SHOULD WE BLAME?  THE PARENT, THE SCHOOL, THE BUS COMPANY, SOCIETY, AND/OR GOD?



Recently, the Parents of 13 year old Arizona (Photo right), allege that while on his way home from school in Coventry to Barrington, R.I., Arizona was assaulted by his substitute bus monitor, James Caton.  The parents believe that the bus driver, James Miller, assisted Caton; due to blood stains on Miller’s hand and comments that he made to the father, “ I am not driving this F_ _ king animal around anymore, he’s an F-ing animal.  If I have to drive him around, I quit.  This is my last day, I’m not driving that F_ _ king animal.” Both monitors, Pauline Souza and James Caton stated that bus driver Miller never left his seat and kept driving the school bus.  What complicates the matter is that Arizona is limited verbally and cannot communicate to tell authorities what actually happened.  As a result of this incident, Arizona’s parents are calling for cameras on school buses, comprehensive training for bus personnel and national BCI checks.  A few days before, R.I. State Representative Antonio Giarrusso announced that he would be introducing legislation that would require bus personnel to have national BCI checks prior to being hired on school buses.  On May 31, 2012, Rick Bella of the Oregonian, reported that an autistic boy attacked and injured a bus driver (Photo right).  The Oregonian further reported, Joe Krumm, North Clackamas School District spokesman, said the district has "no history with this child on buses."   In the case of disability-related behavior, the student's special education plan could be revised, such as adding more staff support for the student, moving the student within or out of the district, or creating a support plan that helps the student recognize problematic behaviors.

We have two situations in which safeguards could have assisted.  In Arizona’s incident, the training of bus personnel is key and cameras are necessary to tell the story when the students on the bus cannot.  In the incident that occurred 2012, the student was not assigned a trained aide on the school bus, nor was a functional behavior assessment performed to find out the student’s triggers for his behaviors.   Rather than spending time wasted on determining who is to blame, it would be more productive spending time training bus personnel, having FBAs performed by certified behavioral analysts, installing cameras, performing national BCI checks, educating bus personnel about the students they work with, and not waiting until incidents, such as, the one’s mentioned, to take action.  

To Read Full Story Click on: http://www.oregonlive.com/happy-valley/index.ssf/2012/05/autistic_boys_attack_on_school.html