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!

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

SUCCESS FOR A 14 YEAR OLD FOOTBALL KICKER DESPITE THE CHALLENGES


Image via Kris Craig/Providence Journal
Source: Providence Journal.com

The Providence journal reported on the achievements of high school football kicker, Isaac Lufkin who loves football.  He is 5'6, weighs 100 pounds, and was born without what we define as arms.
According to the Providence Journal,
last Saturday, he and his teammates on the Classical High freshman team won the Division II freshman state title as they completed an undefeated season with a 41-20 victory over Toll Gate at Cranston Stadium.  “We beat everybody by quite a bit,” Lufkin said with an obvious sense of pride in the Purple’s dominating, perfect season.  The Providence Journal further reports that he could have easily spent his life depending on others to help carry out his daily existence, but he wants to be his own person. “I learned how to shower by myself when I was 5 and dress by myself when I was 6, said Lufkin “I didn’t want my mom having to dress me or help me shower anymore. “People are always trying to help me, but I like to help myself,” Lufkin continued. “I don’t feed into the pity thing.”  He wanted to be just another kid and he never looked for excuses why he couldn’t be.
To Read the entire story go to: http://universityprimetime.com/school/uri/article/14-year-old-with-no-arms-is-star-football-kicker
 
 
 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

ANTONIO GIARRUSSO, LAWMAKERS, NATIONAL AUTISM ASSOCIATION, RHODE ISLAND FAMILIES AGAINST RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION CALLS FOR CAMERAS ON SCHOOL BUSES, BETTER TRAINED BUS PERSONNEL, AND NATIONAL BCI CHECKS

The Safety of Rhode Island Students on School Buses is Jeopardized Each Day to Save Money. 
 
The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), Statewide Bus, Transpar (Bus Management Co.), and First Student Bus Was Aware that Bus Personnel Were Not Adequately Trained

Photo by NBC10

According to NBC 10 background checks are required for all school employees, but not school bus drivers and monitors.

State Rep. Antonio Giarrusso, R-East Greenwich told NBC10, "When it comes to school safety and the safety of our children you have to make sure there's no stone left unturned."

Tony Gugliotta of NBC 10 reports-Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, says non-verbal children are at most risk because they cannot adequately verbalize their feelings.  Fournier said she was in favor of background checks and added that bus personnel should be trained to work with special education students and that video cameras should be installed on all buses.  Fournier also said it's important for bus personnel to recognize behavioral cues in children so a potentially volatile situation can be avoided. "If something doesn't feel right to you as a parent follow your gut and investigate, because you're probably right," Fournier said.

To read more and see video, click on following link:
http://www.turnto10.com/story/24047765/ri-lawmaker-pushing-for-background-checks-on-school-bus-personnel

At a meeting on November 8, 2013, with the Barrington School Department, Transpar, Statewide, and First Student bus Co. of Warren, bus manager Francisco Monteiro and bus personnel stated that they did not believe that they were adequately trained to transport special needs children that exhibit certain stereotypical behaviors and requested more comprehensive training from RIDE and Transpar, Mike Johnson.  Bus personnel, at the meeting, admit that comprehensive training is necessary and is very receptive to receiving more training.  They also stated that you have to love your job, be compassionate for individuals with special needs and want to be at the job.

First student's website states the following:

"Extra care, attention, and assistance are required when transporting students with disabilities. As the leader in student transportation services, First Student knows this better than any other provider. That’s why our drivers and attendants stand above the rest – and why we’re trusted by more school districts.  Founded on our decades of experience, we have developed special hiring qualifications and training programs specific to our early childhood and special-needs transportation services. Our training goes beyond state requirements and is among the most rigorous in the industry.
First Student drivers and monitors are required to participate in numerous needs-specific education programs, workshops and on-the-job training surrounding recognizing, responding to, and transporting students with a variety of physical and emotional needs. Drivers, attendants and other employees who work with early childhood students or students with disabilities and/or special needs receive vigorous training on topics."

The website further states that bus personnel training includes:

1.  Inclusion: Learn how to assist a child with disabilities to become more involved with their peers.
2. Characteristics of Disabilities: Learn what can potentially happen, how to react, and what we can do to help.
3. Sensitivity: Understanding and involving others.
4. Laws and liabilities: Provides training with regular updates regarding laws and regulations, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504.
5. Student Behavior Management: Learn how to assist with extreme behaviors and calm a child when they become stressed.
6. Passenger Loading/Unloading Equipment Training: Learn important instructions and procedures for vehicle and wheelchair lift operation, wheelchair securement and child safety restraint systems.
7. Written Evacuation Plans: Learn what to do in an emergency and how to evacuate quickly, safely, and without injury.

Go to First Student website to read more:
http://firststudentinc.com/transportation-management/school-bus-safety/special-needs-training

Saturday, November 23, 2013

THE RHODE ISLAND STATE POLICE AND STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE INVESTIGATE ASSAULT OF 13 YEAR OLD STUDENT BY FIRST STUDENT BUS MONITOR AND PARENTS BELIEVE BUS DRIVER ASSISTED, "HE HAD BLOOD ON HIS HANDS."

Parents Call For Surveillance Cameras On School Buses, Comprehensive Training For Bus Personnel, And National BCI Checks.

First Student’s operations manager, Francisco Monteiro, stated, "Bus personnel cannot touch a student at all, not even to restrain them."

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), Statewide-First Student Bus, and Transpar Runs Special Needs Buses without Specially Trained Bus Monitors and Aides Because RIDE Wants To Save Money.



Photo by abc6                                                Photo by NBC10

BARRINGTON, R.I.- On October 7, 2013, 13 year old Arizona Jacobowitz, diagnosed with autism, got off a Statewide-First Student School bus at his home in Barrington R.I., sweating profusely, blood above his lip, his face was red, both eyes were blackened, his body was hot,  red marks were on his shoulder, print design from the bus seat was embedded in his face, and he complained of chest pain.

When the school bus arrived at Arizona’s home in Barrington, he was standing at the front door with his head resting against the glass door.  Bus driver, James Miller, opened the door, allowing Arizona to run off the bus, unaccompanied, and sped off without saying anything to Arizona’s parents.  James Caton was a substitute monitor assigned to A.J. for the day, while his regular bus monitor was out. James Caton admitted in police report to having to restrain Arizona due to acting out behaviors.  Arizona’s father, Irwin Jacobowitz, took off after the school bus in an effort to find out what occurred.  Mr. Jacobowitz caught up with Statewide-First Student bus driver, James Miller, who stated, “ 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.”  Arizona's father noticed that bus driver, James Miller, had blood on his hands.  Miller then sped off towards Warren, R.I. where First Student bus garage is located. 

Arizona’s family took him to the Barrington Police department where Patrolman Gregg F. Koutros took their statement and pictures.  Patrolman Koutros spoke with Francisco Monteiro of First Student Bus Co. who advised him that the incident occurred on the highway while transporting A.J. from his school in Coventry, to his home in Barrington.  Patrolman Koutros advised the Jacobowitz’s that since the incident did not occur in Barrington, they should go to the bus company to make a report and/or go to the State Police. 

A.J.’s family took him to Hasbro hospital in Providence where medical reports confirm broken blood vessels of the face and several contusions.  The doctors at Hasbro filed a report with the State Police.  The Rhode Island State Police informed the family that an eyewitness called into the East Providence Police department to report that she observed what she believed to be a bus monitor restraining a child on a school bus; she was concerned for the child’s wellbeing and requested that the police investigate.  According to the eyewitness, the bus monitor was the aggressor.
According to WPRI Channel 12 in Providence, reporter Kelly Sullivan, confirmed that the incident is currently under investigation with the Attorney General’s office in Providence.    http://www.wpri.com/news/local/east-bay/wpri-state-police-investigating-student-assault-claim-special-needs-student-arizona-jacobowitz-coventry-learning-center-jmq

The Parent’s met with school officials, Statewide: Transpar that manages student transportation for the Rhode Island Department of Education, and First Student Bus Co. on November 8, 2013.  Barrington’s School officials stated that additional specific training was provided to First Student bus drivers and bus monitors on October 17, 2013 by Pathways in Coventry.  School officials stated that she can provide a more comprehensive training for bus driver’s and monitors. 

First Student’s operations manager, Francisco Monteiro, stated that bus personnel cannot touch a student at all, not even to restrain them.  Monteiro stated, “We are defenseless against a child on the bus.”  Mr. Monteiro also stated that bus personnel is not given enough training to work with special needs students, especially children diagnosed with autism; even after the October 17th training.  Mike Johnson of Statewide: Transpar of remained silent. 

According to abc6.com (WLNE TV) and reporter Liz Tufts, officials at the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) wouldn't comment on camera, but tell us they are taking steps to ensure the safety of children on every bus.  They say the driver has since been taken off the job. http://www.abc6.com/story/24038462/parents-sue-over-alleged-bus-driver-assault

Parents are waiting for Mike Johnson’s response as to whether or not RIDE will approve  surveillance cameras and provide comprehensive training for school bus personnel.  The parents have confirmation by statements taken by police that substitute bus monitor restrained Arizona.  The parents believe that the bus driver, James Miller, assisted the bus monitor due to blood stains on his hands, his angry comments, and speeding off without saying anything about the incident.  The Police have not confirmed bus driver, James Miller's, involvement in the incident as of yet.

The parents are also requesting the suspension of bus driver, James Miller, and two bus monitors, James Canton and Pauline Souza pending the results of the investigation.  Parents have retained attorney.















Tuesday, November 19, 2013

LESSON 101: HOW TO ABUSE AN AUTISTIC CHILD ON A SCHOOL BUS


SURVEILLANCE CAMERA CAPTURES HITTING- CHOKING- KICKING OF AUTISTIC BOY BY BUS DRIVER AND BUS MONITOR



In 2011, Laura Hibbard of The Huffington Post reported a story about Timothy Kilpatrick, a young autistic boy, who was restrained on a school bus, then hit, kicked, and choked by the bus driver Alice Davis Holland and special education aide Mary Alice Evans.  According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch both were convicted on criminal charges after a surveillance video in 2009 captured the assault.
Videotape footage showed Timothy frightened and enduring several beatings with a fly swatter.  Seat restraints prevented him from defending himself.  WBDJ reported that the family sued the Bedford County School Board and the director of special education for $20 million dollars.  Attorney P. Brent Brown represented the family and stated that it bought up important questions about the safety of our children.  According to WSET 13, a spokesman for the Bedford County schools said both the bus driver and special education assistant employment was terminated shortly after the abuse caught on tape in 2009. Attorney Brown reported that Timothy’s father told school officials that he suspected abuse when Timothy departed the bus with marks on his face a full year earlier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w8EP1hA6CA

WATCH the full surveillance footage:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/07/surveillance-video-reveal_n_1000248.html


Here's another video clip of a child with autism being abuse on a school bus by bus driver and bus monitor, as if the first video was not enough.

 
 
 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

STATE REPRESENTATIVE ANTHONY GIARRUSSO OF EAST GREENWICH CALLS FOR NATIONAL BCI CHECKS FOR BUS DRIVER’S AND MONITORS IN R.I.


 
Anthony Giarrusso (Photo Google Images) on top left and James Hopkins (Photo by KDKA) on the  bottom left. Following the arrest of an East Greenwich school bus monitor on child pornography charges, State Rep. Anthony Giarrusso has called for the requirement of national BCI checks for bus drivers and bus monitors.  The bus monitor passed the Rhode Island BCI check, but a national BCI check was never performed.  According to NBC10, Giarrusso will introduce legislation that will require school bus driver’s and monitors to have national background checks prior to being employed.  Giarrusso’s son was a student on the bus of an East Greenwich bus monitor that was arrested on October 31, 2013 on child pornography charges.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)On September 5, 2013, Trina Orlando of KDKA reported that First Student bus monitor, James Hopkins, 74, was accused of inappropriately touching a 16 year old girl with Down’s Syndrome on three occasions between February and June of this year. Surveillance video showed that he allegedly asked her to touch him as well.  The police were alerted when the bus driver went to the superintendent to report the incidences.  First Student stated that when Hopkins was hired in 2007, he passed all federal, state, and local background checks.  Hopkins was arraigned and released on $50,000. Bail.  When the allegations surfaced, First student fired Hopkins.

Matthias Gafni of the Contra Costa Times reported that during March of this year a settlement of $4.75 million dollars were reached in a case in which an 8 year old special needs girl was sexually assaulted by her school bus driver, Richard Evans, in 2010.  Surveillance video on the school bus captured the assault.  Prior to being hired, Evans was convicted of having sex with a prostitute. "Despite his criminal conviction for lewd conduct while on the job as a professional driver he was eligible to drive a school bus," the victim’s attorney, John Manly said.

 John Manly, hopes the settlement will force school districts to better check bus personnel’s backgrounds, and that it will prompt a state investigation.  The times also report that Manly stated, "It also sends a clear message to every school district in California -- protect our children from dangerous predators or suffer the consequences."  A Superior Court jury found Lodi Unified School negligent in hiring Evans and 90 percent liable.  The surveillance video allowed the jury to see and hear what the 8 year old victim went through during the assault.

In order to secure the safety of our children while being transported to and from school, it takes a combination of National BCI checks are necessary, cameras on school buses, comprehensive training, diligent staff that recognize that they are mandated reporters and will be held liable if they do not report abuse, and substantial lawsuits. http://www.turnto10.com/story/23934065/ri-rep-wants-background-checks-for-bus-monitors.

 
 

WHAT DOES A 57 YEAR OLD BARRINGTON MAN, A BUS MONITOR FROM EAST GREENWICH, A UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND MEDICAL STUDENT, A MARBLEHEAD HIGH SCHOOL PHYSICS TEACHER, AND A RHODE ISLAND NATIONAL GUARD ASSIGNED TO THE 88TH ARMY BAND HAVE IN COMMON?


 
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY!!!


Photo by WPRI

Jacquelyn Palumbo of WPRI reported that the Rhode Island State Police arrested eleven men in a child pornography investigation.  On October 31, 2013, members of the Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, assisted by members of the United States Marshals Sex Offender Law Enforcement Multidisciplinary Network (SOLEMN) and the United States Secret Service arrested eleven (11) suspects for allegedly possessing and/or transferring child pornography.

The ICAC initiated an undercover investigative operation to identify subjects involved in sharing images of child pornography on the Internet. Court-authorized search warrants were executed at residences throughout the R.I. Numerous images and videos of child pornography were located on digital media as a result of the search warrants.

The Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force actively engages in investigative efforts to identify subjects involved in child exploitation-related activities. The Rhode Island ICAC Task Force Program is administered by the Rhode Island State Police and supports a national network of multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task forces engaged in investigations, forensic examinations, and prosecutions related to Internet crimes against children and technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation. The Rhode Island ICAC Task Force is comprised of members of the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit along with detectives from the Coventry Police Department, Warwick Police Department, Pawtucket Police Department, Woonsocket Police Department, Middletown Police Department, North Kingstown Police Department, and Jamestown Police Department; and special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Postal Inspection Services (USPS).

BAYSIDE YMCA IN BARRINGTON BANS AUTISTIC BOY & HIS FAMILY INDEFINITELY: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JOE MARTINO SAYS, “AUTISTIC BOYS BEHAVIOR IS UNPREDICTABLE.”


 
“Even A Murderer Or Child Molester Gets A Second Chance, Not A Child With Autism.”


On August 19, 2013, a child diagnosed with autism, had difficulty awaiting his turn for the computer and tantrumed, kicking the chair in which the patron was sitting and using the computer; no one was injured.  Bayside YMCA staff, Meagan Mikissick and Heather Ivil called the Barrington Police Department to report that an autistic child had a temper tantrum.  Later that week, the boy’s family received an email from executive director Joe Martino, suspending the entire family’s use of the Bayside YMCA facilities indefinitely.  Mr. Martin stated, “Our Y strives to meet many individual and family needs in our community.  We are proud of the fact that our doors are open to all…My responsibility as Executive Director is to ensure that all who come to this Y feel safe and comfortable.”  Mr. Martino stated that staff and members expressed their safety concerns to him due to the child being autistic.
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Friday, September 20, 2013

WARWICK PUBLIC LIBRARY BANS TEEN DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM FROM TEENSPACE FOR SIX MONTHS IN VIOLATION OF THE LIBRARY’S BEHAVIOR POLICY AND FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS

The mayhem that occurred during December of  2012 in Sandy Hook, Connecticut was sparked by Adam Lanza’s infatuation with violent video games, such as, “Call to Duty.”

On April 17, 2013 and April 28, 2013, Mr. and Mrs. Jacobowitz, found violent video games in the teen area of the Warwick Public Library, known as “Teen Space.”    The Jacobowitz’s 13 year old son, Arizona, who is diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Autism) wanted to play “Zelda” which contain scenes of fighting with swords, blood content, etc.  Mr. & Mrs. Jacobowitz did not allow Arizona to play the violent games on either day and as a result, on April 28, 2013, Arizona tantrumed. 

     On April 29, 2013, Mr. and Mrs. Jacobowitz, returned to the Warwick library to express their discontent for the library possessing and allowing the teens to play violent video games at the library and consider this to be a form of mental abuse.

     Two weeks later, on May 15, 2013, Diane Greenwald, the director of the Warwick Public library, forwarded a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Jacobowitz banning Arizona from “Teen space” for 6 months in violation of the library’s behavior policy.  The behavior policy states, “Unacceptable behavior includes any form of harassment which could result in physical, emotional, or mental injury to oneself or others, or when it could result in damage to library facilities, equipment, or materials.”  The Warwick Public Library did not accept any level of liability for providing “Teen space” with violent videos.  Ms. Greenwald stated, “I will be willing to review this restriction with you after 6 months if you feel Arizona is ready to use the Teen space appropriately.” 
Mayor Scott Avedisian was contacted and received the following response from Ms. Greenwald, “[T]he decision was made following several fairly serious incidents that, according to reports at the time, involved screaming, hitting, and disruptions that lasted for more than 15 minutes, and were the result of Arizona being told that it was time to leave and when he was told he had to wait his turn.”  Greenwald also stated, “[A]ny games in the Teen space are rated appropriate for teens, and that the library does not carry violent videogames.”  Ms. Greenwald further stated that she will be willing to meet and discuss when and how Arizona can return to Teen space.

In our reply letter to Mayor Avedisian, we noted several key factors-(1) The behavior policies for most libraries are out dated and does not address behaviors that are a manifestation of one’s different ability; (2) the decision was made, not following several “fairly serious incidents,” but two weeks after a tantrum and concerns were expressed about videos that contained violence being allowed at Warwick Public Library in the Teen space; (3) The rating teen appropriate on a videogame does not necessarily mean that it is appropriate for teens per se, adults usually determine what’s appropriate for the child or teen; (4) Banning Arizona from the “Teen space” for 6 months fail to offer a correlation between the inappropriateness of his behavior (tantrumming) and the ban in a way that he could understand the reasoning; and (5) Places of Public Accommodations are required to provide accommodations by law.  Several suggestions for accommodations were forwarded to the mayor.
Today, a place of Public Accommodations may decide to ban individuals with autism and other special needs, tomorrow they may decide to ban- senior citizens, people of color, various races, gay or lesbians, and maybe you.

We are waiting to hear back from Mayor Scott Avedisian and Diane Greenwald on a plan to accommodate people with special needs, rather than excluding them.

BARRINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY THREATENED TO BAN “ HERBIE” THE SERVICE DOG FROM THE TOWN LIBRARY


Herbie, the service dog, achieved public notoriety in November of 2010, when Pearl and Irwin Jacobowitz adopted Herbie from the animal rescue in Warren, R.I.  Warren’s animal control officer, Heidi Garity, had Herbie trained by a woman who trained dogs mainly for combat veterans who needed assistance.  The trainer also worked with stray and shelter dogs, training them to be assist dogs.
On August 27, 2013, Laurie Burke, the reference desk librarian, and Lydia who works at the circulation desk, complained and submitted a written report to the director of the Barrington library, Deborah Barchi.  In the complaint, Laurie Burke stated, “An elderly gentleman, Paul Gabarra, complained to Janet (reference desk) that he was afraid of the dog.  Lydia and I noticed anxious looks fro mothers and children on the main floor.”  Lydia and Laurie Burke alleged that Herbie lunged at patrons in the library and they were in fear.  The Barrington Public library director, Deborah Barchi, demanded proof that Herbie was a service dog and said that patrons were upset that Herbie could frequent the library and their dogs could not.  Herbie barked when he sensed danger, but he did not lunge at patrons while at the library.  Herbie never came within 4 feet of any patron in the library and was at least 10 feet away from Mr. Gabarra.
The Barrington Public Library behavior policy states, “[P]ets (except guide animals) shall be prohibited from the interior.”  When confronted with this situation, always request the policy relating to service dogs. 
Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.  A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.  A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence. Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises. People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals. If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal. Staff  are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.
 

 

Monday, September 2, 2013

TEACHER ACCUSED OF COVERING CHILD’S NOSE AND MOUTH, THEN SMACKING HIM IN THE FACE AT MARY FOGARTY SCHOOL IN PROVIDENCE, R.I.


 
"...I found out she put her hand over my son's mouth and nose, squeezed it, and then when my son was screaming, she smacked him in his face," said the child’s mother, Crystal Jones, in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News.

On August 30, 2013, WPRI.COM, Dan Fogarty, reported that according to the Providence School Department, a teacher at Mary Fogarty School, was placed on administrative leave after allegedly hitting a kindergarten student on Thursday.

According to Superintendent, Dr. Susan Follet Lusi, the teacher was immediately removed from the classroom when they were notified.  The incident is currently under investigation by the police.

Lusi stated, “Our educators are to be held to the highest standards as role models in their students’ lives, and the alleged behavior is absolutely intolerable.”  Read more...

“MCAD RULES THAT EXCLUDING CHILD WITH AUTISM & HIS FAMILY FROM THE SWANSEA MALL WAS BASED ON LEGITIMATE, NON-DISCRIMINATORY BUSINESS REASONS.”


Difficulty For Autistic Boy Transitioning From the Swansea Mall Leads to A One Year "No Trespass Notice" Being Issued to The Family  by Pearl H. Jacobowitz

     The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) ruled on August 31, 2012, in the case of Jacobowitz, obo minor children v. Swansea Mall security (Mydatt Services, Inc. dba Valor Secuity Services), Carlyle Swansea Partners, LLC., that excluding children diagnosed with autism is appropriate when based on “legitimate, non-discriminatory business reasons.”

     Sabrina Acloque, Karen Erickson, and Julian Tynes (Investigating commissioner) rendered a decision regarding a one year no trespass notice that was issued on August 24, 2011, by the Swansea Mall and the Swansea Police, banning the Jacobowitz family from the Swansea Mall in Swansea Massachusetts. 

     On August 17, 2011, while visiting the Swansea Mall, Arizona Jacobowitz found transitioning from the mall at closing time very difficult and began to tantrum.  The shopkeeper would not permit Mr. Jacobowitz to initiate a “five minute countdown” behavioral procedure that would have assisted with transitioning.  As Mr. Jacobowitz began to escort Arizona from the Swansea Mall, a crowd gathered hurling verbal threats at Mr. Jacobowitz and one man threatened to hit him with a wrench just purchased from Sears.  As Mr. Jacobowitz attempted to escort Arizona out of the mall in one hand and the service dog out of the mall in the other hand, the angry crowd followed him out of the mall to his vehicle.  The Swansea Mall Security, Mydatt Services, Inc.(dba “Valor”), did not assist Mr. Jacobowitz, although cameras were located in the mall to capture events taking place throughout the mall.

     The Jacobowitz family filed a complaint based on discrimination due to the mall issuing the one year ban, the mall failing to provide accommodations that would assist a child diagnosed with autism or other special needs, and the mall’s security failing to protect.  By the issuance of this decision, places of public accommodations, such as, the Swansea Mall, could ban individuals with autism and other special needs from their facilities based on legitimate, non-discriminatory business reasons.  Although, the term “legitimate, non-discriminatory business reasons” remains undefined by MCAD, it could simply mean for any reason the facility deems necessary.  MCAD was asked by Mr. & Mrs. Jacobowitz to issue an order requesting the Swansea Mall to provide reasonable accommodations, such as, a quiet area in which the caregiver and individual with autism and other special needs could retreat to, as necessary, a registry at customer services, provide Picture Exchange Cards (PECS) of places within the mall, personnel training, and a portable emergency alert system (beepers) if assistance is required.

     By administrative agencies, courts, and other law agencies rendering decisions, such as, the one described in this post, stores, movie theaters, gyms, libraries, and other public accommodations can ban individuals with autism or other special needs from their establishments at any time and for whatever reason, as it will be deemed, a “legitimate, non-discriminatory business reason.”  We must continue to file complaints, protest the establishments, write letters, and petition for change, otherwise accept exclusionary practices and regress back to the day when the only answer to treating individuals with special needs, such as, autism, was institutionalization and/or lobotomies.

IS YOUR CHILD IN DANGER? CAUGHT ON CAMERA


Protecting your child may come down to the use of video cameras in your own home and in schools by Dakota Jacobowitz

     630 WPRO Newsroom reported that according to the Cranston police department, a nine year old, developmentally challenged boy was abused by his caretaker July 30, 2013 when the couple went out to dinner.  Kimberly Faneuf, 46, of Cumberland, a Bayada homecare worker, has been charged with a felony count of assault on a person with severe impairments.  She was arraigned and released on $10,000. personal recognizance and due back in court on October 7, 2013.  While at dinner, the parents discovered that their son was being abused, by Faneuf, after watching her through a home monitoring video system on their cell phone.  It was reported that the boy was grabbed by his head, then slammed down on his back three times.  He suffered bruises on his forehead and left arm, as well as a blood spot on his left eye.  He also suffered injuries around his neck and arm.  He was treated at Hasbro Hospital and released. www.630wpro.com/common/page.php?pt=NEWS3A+Developmentally+disabled+child+abused+by+caretaker&id=19353&is_corp=0
 
 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

WHO CAN YOU COUNT ON TO GIVE YOUR CHILD THAT EXTRA PUSH? THE BUS DRIVER? THE TEACHER? THE AIDE?


 
video
 
msn news video of School Bus Driver Pushing 8 year old Girl Diagnosed with Autism From School Bus
According to msn news:
A school-bus driver was charged with aggravated child abuse after allegedly pushing a special-needs child off the bus.

The Florida State Attorney's Office released a video Wednesday of a Tampa school-bus driver allegedly pushing an 8-year-old special-needs student off a bus with her foot.

WPTV.com reported bus driver Stephanie Wilkerson, 41, was charged with aggravated child abuse in October.

A video of the incident was taken from inside the bus. The girl fell and broke her ankle, WPTV said.

Tampa Bay Online reported that Wilkerson was driving the bus to Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary School on the morning of Sept. 28.

According to TBO, when Wilkerson told the autistic girl to wait her turn to get off the bus, the girl supposedly slapped and pushed the driver.

A spokeswoman for the school district told TBO that the driver was removed from her job Oct. 1.http://news.msn.com/us/video-of-driver-allegedly-pushing-child-off-bus-released
 
Should the law require that videotapes of abuse incidents by schools, bus staff, etc., be released to the public?