ADVICE NEEDED! Legal Actions for Abuse In Classroom

Shannon Colon

I have had the honor of working and being a part of the Parenting Special Needs Magazine family since 2011. My responsibilities include keeping up with trending topics pertaining to our readers. I concentrate on drawing in our target market and keeping our social media sites active and informative.

4 Responses

  1. Nestor says:

    just found out that the teacher had pinched my son and left a bruise on his arm the school sent the teacher home but the way it’s being handled has me worried because I’ve noticed small bruises similar to the one he has from the pinch so I’m afraid that this has been happening for a while now he’s three years old and I’m a concerned father and other incidents occurred

  2. Hi Nestor:

    We are so sorry this is happening to your child.We typically post these questions on our Facebook page. Would you like us to repost your question for you?

  3. Ashley says:

    I am researching options as far as what I can do about school staff members verbally abusing my seven year old daughter. She has autism and is in the special needs class room. We love in kentucky. New to this area and have never even thought about this being a problem. We have review emails and phone calls from a school district member who is investigating the matter but I sont want to be left in the dark or have ourselves and our daughter taken advantage of and spoken to in abusive manner for that regard.

  4. anngaydos@aol.com says:

    I am so sorry you are experiencing this. I would suggest initially addressing the board at your district’s next board meeting and sending a letter to both the superintendent and board members laying out your concerns. The board is responsible for ensuring that the district is compliant with the law. If that fails, you might want to find a special needs lawyer and explore your options.

    I successfully sued the Cupertino Union School District in California some years ago after a special education teacher abused my child. I really didn’t want to sue a school district, but if you look at what was tried in the approximately four years that this teacher was employed at CUSD, you can see I had nothing left.

    Here’s a list of attempts made during that four year period to address the problem:

    A complaint was filed about the teacher with the state; three complaints were made to CPS; there were two police reports; a teacher’s aid met with the special education director and SELPA representative to discuss her concerns; the same aid tried to warn parents of abuse in the classroom; the same aid tried to file a report with the HR director in which she claimed the teacher physically assaulted her; the same aid called a meeting with the principal and HR director to discuss specific incidents of abuse; four parents complained directly to the former principal of Eisenhower Elementary about the teacher; I held two meetings with the principal of Eisenhower Elementary to discuss my concerns about my child being abused; two parents forced the district to place their children in private schools after culminating incidents of abuse; a program therapist discussed her concerns about abuse in the classroom with the former principal of Eisenhower; I tried to call the superintendent twice; the whistleblowing aid tried to call the superintendent and to find out how she could address a board meeting; and I sent several letters to the superintendent and board members.

    The parents who filed a complaint with the state were told the teacher had been fired; instead, the district moved her to another school within the district. CPS in California has no jurisdiction over public school teachers and couldn’t help. The police expected that the administration would address the problem. The whistleblowing aid experienced very ugly retaliation that amounted to workplace bullying. The district told the aid she could not speak to parents (this was after she tried to warn us about the abuse in the classroom), assured me she had “no credibility,” and moved to fire her. She hadn’t done anything “fireable,” so they tried to move her to another classroom. She said she’d only move if the teacher was fired, and she resigned when the district refused her ultimatum. When the aid called the superintendent’s secretary to find out how to address a board meeting, she says the secretary told her that “board meetings are not for people like you” and hung up on her. The superintendent didn’t return my calls. The board members say they did not receive most of my letters, which appear to have been intercepted either by the superintendent or his secretary. The principal, in her deposition, claimed that she “didn’t recall” whether the program therapist had spoken with her about the teacher’s abusive conduct. She also “couldn’t recall” whether or not she’d written a glowing review for the teacher when the teacher moved to another district, where I understand there were further problems.

    The case went to trial. The district’s defense was as unethical as its four year failure to address the abuse. There was obvious perjury and what I believe to be witness tampering. Thankfully, the lies fell apart very quickly under cross-examination, we won, the district was placed under judicial oversight for two years, and the people I thought needed to go went, but a lawsuit is a stressful undertaking. I hope you will be able to resolve the problem without bloodshed, but, depending on the ethics and compassion of the board and administration, a lawsuit may be your only resort. Good luck!

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