Thursday, October 29, 2009
Jennifer Carter, 45, was arrested on Monday on charges of misdemeanor child abuse and false imprisonment.
Palmer Elementary first grader, Joshua, was allegedly duct taped by Carter on Wednesday after being sent to the principal's office.
Joshua,6, told CBS Affiliate CBS4 he was sent to the principal's office on Wednesday when a substitute teacher said he was disrupting his first grade class.
"The secretary taped my mouth shut and taped my wrists together," he said, referring to the principal's secretary.
The principal, Elizabeth Trujillo, sent a letter home with all students on Thursday. It stated the Denver Public Schools and Denver police would "... investigate any allegation of misconduct" and that "... be assured the safety of students is a top priority."
"She said she came back from lunch duty, saw the tape on his face and told the secretary to take it off and not to do it again. And she said she apologized to my son," said Tenner.
Late Monday evening, Denver Public Schools released this statement:
"Based on the evidence confirmed at this stage, the district is taking action to immediately terminate the employee. This is a deeply troubling incident, and this type of conduct is completely reprehensible and inexcusable."
Joshua has not been back in school, and his mom plans to enroll him in a new school.
A jail official said a bond amount for Carter had not been set, according to the Associated Press.
The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 10/27/2009 05:10:47 PM MDT
A former U.S. Marine Corps recruiter charged with 14 felonies in connection with an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female Olympus High School student on Tuesday waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Trevor Adam Hooper, 26, is charged with one count each of first-degree felony counts of rape and forcible sodomy, 11 counts of second-degree felony sex exploitation of a minor and one second-degree felony count of forcible sexual abuse.
A scheduling hearing for Hooper was set for Nov. 16 before 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy.
Prosecutors said they elevated the charges against Hooper because he occupied a position of special trust in relation to the girl.
The two allegedly met when Hooper, an Iraq War veteran who lives in Clearfield, was recruiting at Olympus High, one of four high schools where he was assigned.
During April, Hooper picked up the girl and drove her to a motel, where Hooper videotaped and photographed their sexual activity, according to charging documents.
An investigation began in May when the girl's father caught her sneaking back into their home early one morning and subsequently found photos depicting sexual activity on her camera, according to the probable cause statement.
Hooper -- who has voluntarily separated from the military -- could face up to life in prison, if convicted of the first-degree felonies.
October 23, 2009
GREENWOOD, Miss. -- A school district in Leflore County has been hit with a lawsuit from a student alleging injuries from a paddling.
An 11-year-old is seeking $500,000 from the Greenwood Public School District in a suit filed in Leflore County Circuit Court.
The child's attorney said photographs show deep bruising on the then-10-year-old's buttocks and that he also suffered possible kidney damage.
Phone calls by The Greenwood Commonwealth for comment to Superintendent Margie Pulley and the schools' attorney, Richard Oakes, were not returned.
Last month, the guardian of a 6-year-old kindergartner filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the Leflore County School District for alleged paddlings.
Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, http://www.gwcommonwealth.com
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Bad behaviour must be dealt with, but tiny ‘safe rooms’ are not the answer, they say
VANCOUVER - Parents of children with behavioural difficulties in school agree there needs to be a plan in place for them so other students are not disrupted but disagree in the use of “time-out” or “safe” rooms.
The Vancouver Sun learned three Vancouver elementary schools — Renfrew elementary, Waverley elementary and John Norquay elementary — are using the rooms for students in special “district” classes, which are for students with behavioural challenges, and the parents of four individual students in regular classrooms have given the schools permission to put their children in “safe rooms” as a last resort strategy. There’s also an interagency facility in Vancouver, called Alderwood Family Development Centre, where 16 elementary-school-aged children can be placed in a 10-foot-by-10-foot room whenever their behaviours are deemed unsafe.
The rooms came to light after a child advocate alerted the Vancouver school district that a six-year-old foster child, who came from an abusive background, was regularly being locked in a room described as a 3-foot-by-3-foot “closet” while attending Renfrew elementary school last year.
The Sun also learned that one elementary student last year in Vancouver was kicked out of school under a “medical exclusion” because of unsafe behaviour, three students were given “medical exclusions” in 2007 and one in 2006.
One child who was medically excluded in 2007 while a kindergarten student at Tecumseh elementary school, was seven-year-old Emery Green. Now a Grade 2 student there, Emery spent his kindergarten year back at pre-school and his Grade 1 year at Alderwood facility. While at Alderwood, Emery’s father, Chris Green, gave permission for his son to be physically taken to the centre’s “blue” room when he was considered a danger to himself or others. This happened once or twice, Green says, while Emery was in Alderwood.
“Our kids, if they get over-stimulated, will start acting out. He’d melt down and run around and knock kids over. So when a child is being a danger like that this [the time out room] is an option for the kids to calm down,” says Green, who adds at the time of Emery’s medical exclusion from school it was believed he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Green says before Emery was forced to leave Tecumseh elementary under the “medical exclusion” he was getting called to pick up his son from school daily, sometimes as early as half-an hour after dropping him off.
“I was bringing him to work. It wasn’t ideal for him or me. I got lucky they [his workplace] were willing to let me do that,” says Green, who adds he appreciated the year Emery spent at Alderwood because they were able to handle any disruptive behaviour without him being called to pick up his son.
“I wouldn’t recommend a 3-by-3-foot room, but there has to be something set up when the child gets out of line,” he says. “Would you rather wait until the child is 18 and the little room is in Matsqui [Institution]? ”
Now that Emery is in Grade 2, he has a one-to-one aide and he’s able to leave the regular classroom and take a break whenever he is getting over-stimulated and there are warning signs he might “have a meltdown,” says Green.
But another parent disagrees with “time out” rooms, saying she was upset to learn it was regularly happening to her son when he was a Grade 2 student at an elementary school in New Westminster.
Natasha Mountain says when she discovered her son, Ethan Bushey Mountain, now 12, was being placed in a former custodian “closet,” sometimes for as long as one hour, she immediately withdrew him from the school.
Bushey says her son, who has a brain injury and was at risk for seizures, was being sent to the small windowless room alone where he was not safe should he have had a seizure.
When she reported the matter to the police she was told locking children in a room at schools was not considered a crime. She also complained to the New Westminster school district and learned they not only agreed with the practice but paid $800 for the school to strip a former janitorial closet and convert it into a “safe” room for Ethan. The only thing in the room was a cushion for him to sit on.
Mountain says Ethan wasn’t violent but she did agree “in the school system you don’t want someone yelling” as her son was doing at the time. She says that no longer happens at his new school because there is a positive behavioural plan in place that does not include “time out” or “safe” rooms.
The issue of dealing effectively with troubled students is not black and white and needs to be handled on a case by case basis, says UBC associate professor Laurie Ford, from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education School of Psychology.
Ford says placing children in a “time out” or “safe” room should be seen as a last resort.
“Restricting kids and excluding kids doesn’t replace a positive supportive behavioural plan. You want to make sure you have exhausted everything before you go to a punitive model. It’s a very last resort and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that it is a really effective model,” says Ford.
After West Fargo teacher Mavis Tjon was fired, she vowed to seek protection for other teachers.
Now, she said, teachers have that protection.
The West Fargo School District is changing its corporal punishment policy to follow state legislation passed because of Tjon’s firing.
“I feel like the job that I started when I said ‘something good can come from this’ is done,” she said Monday. “And I also feel that it really does vindicate me in terms of saying that I was not treated fairly.”
On Monday, West Fargo School Board members reviewed changes to the district’s longstanding policy and expect to approve the revised policy on Nov. 9.
After she was fired in 2006, Tjon argued the district’s policy contained gaps that affected teachers.
She lobbied for a change in state law and several North Dakota legislators took up her case, sponsoring changes in legislation.
In March, the Legislature approved changes that require uniform disciplinary policies across schools and prohibit corporal punishment policies that are stricter than state law. When she was dismissed, Tjon taught in three West Fargo schools.
“There was a lot of support out there,” Tjon said. “I think that verifies what I was saying, that this needed to change.”
The district’s former policy, last revised in 1990, contained four sentences defining corporal punishment as “physical pain inflicted on a student.” The district allowed each school to develop its own disciplinary policies.
The district’s new page-long policy defines corporal punishment as “willful infliction of pain on a student,” and requires identical disciplinary policies, procedures and guidelines across all schools.
“It tries to standardize how we deal with student conduct at a higher level,” said Robin Hill, the district’s human resources director.
Tjon, who taught music for 25 years, was fired for violating the district’s corporal punishment policy after she said she tapped a boy on the head to get his attention.
Now, the 66-year-old said she finds solace in the new district policy.
“I was angry at the very beginning but … I really let go of that,” she said.
She also hopes the changes in policy will ensure teachers are treated more fairly if incidents like hers happen again.
“I wish it hadn’t had to take legislation to change their policies,” she said. “I really hope they’ll be more reasonable in the future.”