Monday, February 22, 2010

DE: Pediatrician Indicted in Child Sex Abuse Scandal

Excerpt from The Associated Press:

DOVER, Del. – A Delaware grand jury returned a sweeping indictment Monday against a pediatrician accused of serial molestation in what could be one of the worst child sex abuse cases in the nation's history.

The 160-page indictment returned by a Sussex County grand jurycharges Dr. Earl Bradley of Lewes with 471 counts of sexual crimes against 103 children.

Attorney General Beau Biden said all of the alleged victims, including one boy, were caught on more than 13 hours of video recordings, some dating to 1998, that were seized from Bradley's office and home.


The charges against Bradley include rape, sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful sexual contact, continual sexual abuse of a child, assault and reckless endangering.

Bradley, who was arrested in December and initially charged with 29 felony counts for allegedly abusing nine children, is being held with bail set at $2.9 million. His medical license was permanently revoked by the state Board of Medical Practice last week.


Authorities would not say whether they think Bradley had videotaped all of his alleged assaults or whether there may be more victims.

Please read the complete article for more information:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Announcement: Justice4Children Internet Radio Show 12/19/09!

Forwarded message from Theresa Edwards:







Let's talk and Come Together.

Our Children Need Our Help and Co-operation.

If you have any announcements that you would like to have put out on the air please submit them to me at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

PA: Philly TSA Agents Force 4 yr old Disabled Child through Metal Detectors without his Leg Braces or Parental Support

Excerpt from

By Daniel Rubin
Inquirer Columnist

February 15, 2010

Did you hear about the Camden cop whose disabled son wasn't allowed to pass through airport security unless he took off his leg braces?

Unfortunately, it's no joke. This happened to Bob Thomas, a 53-year-old officer in Camden's emergency crime suppression team, who was flying to Orlando in March with his wife, Leona, and their son, Ryan.

Ryan was taking his first flight, to Walt Disney World, for his fourth birthday.

The boy is developmentally delayed, one of the effects of being born 16 weeks prematurely. His ankles are malformed and his legs have low muscle tone. In March he was just starting to walk.

Mid-morning on March 19, his parents wheeled his stroller to the TSA security point, a couple of hours before their Southwest Airlines flight was to depart.

The boy's father broke down the stroller and put it on the conveyor belt as Leona Thomas walked Ryan through the metal detector.

The alarm went off.

The screener told them to take off the boy's braces.

The Thomases were dumbfounded. "I told them he can't walk without them on his own," Bob Thomas said.

"He said, 'He'll need to take them off.' "

Ryan's mother offered to walk him through the detector after they removed the braces, which are custom-made of metal and hardened plastic.

No, the screener replied. The boy had to walk on his own.

Leona Thomas said she was calm. Bob Thomas said he was starting to burn.

They complied, and Leona went first, followed by Ryan, followed by Bob, so the boy wouldn't be hurt if he fell. Ryan made it through.

By then, Bob Thomas was furious. He demanded to see a supervisor. The supervisor asked what was wrong.

"I told him, 'This is overkill. He's 4 years old. I don't think he's a terrorist.' "

The supervisor replied, "You know why we're doing this," Thomas said.

Thomas said he told the supervisor he was going to file a report, and at that point the man turned and walked away.

Announcement: Oregon - North West PBIS Conference March 8-9 2010 at Oregon State University

By Jennifer Searcy
Founder/Director of Public Policy & Affairs
The Coalition for Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports

February 16, 2010

Corvallis, OR -- The North West Conference for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports will be held on March 8-9, 2010 at Oregon State University. Dr. Rob Horner, a professor of special education at Oregon State and Director of Educational Community Supports (ECS), will be the Key-Note Speaker.

Other presenters include: Dr. Carl Sumi, Dr. Cindy Anderson, Dr. Brigid Flannery, Dr. Dale Myers, Dr. Chris Borgmeier, Dr. Teri Lewis, Dr. Tary Tobin, Dr. Tim Andrews, Gerry Morgan, Rob Bressi, Dr. Bruce Stiller, Anne Todd, and Cory Dunn.

Sessions will include PBIS Basics, School-Wide PBIS, Intensive School-wide PBIS, PBIS with Families, Classroom Interventions, and many others.

One-quarter academic is available through the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University for those who attend both conference days and complete an assignment. Tuition for the credit is set at $75, and is in addition to the conference registration fee. Please contact Leah Hershey at (503) 725-8102 or email for more information on earning credit.

To register for the conference, please click the following link:

For more information, please contact OSU Conferences at (800) 678-6311 or email

WA: White River Special Education Team to Attend PBIS Conference

By Jennifer Searcy
Founder/Director of Public Policy & Affairs
The Coalition for Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports

February 16, 2010

The White River School Board has given the district's special education team permission to attend a conference on Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS).

The conference is set for March 8-9, 2010 at Oregon State University, which is located in Corvallis, Oregon.

For more information about the conference, please contact OSU Conference Services at (800) 678-6311 or

AL: Teacher Accused of Spanking Despite School Procedures

By Jennifer Searcy
Founder/Director of Public Policy & Affairs

February 16, 2010

A teacher stands accused of spanking a child, despite "no spanking" documentation on file for the child.

Shonna Beckwith, a physical education teacher at Weedon Elementary School in Florence, Alabama, allegedly spanked a child against the school's procedure on corporal punishment earlier in the month.

The city's school board is expected to render a decision in the case today, during their regularly scheduled meeting.

No further details are available at this time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

NC: Wake Co Police Investigating Sexual Abuse Allegations involving Coach

Excerpt from WTVD:

February 15, 2010

Officials with Wake County Public Schools confirm that Fuquay-Varina High School women's coach Mardy Cutchin has been suspended with pay while they investigate sexual misconduct allegations.

Cutchin is accused of having sexual relations with a player.

The Fuquay-Varina Police Department is also investigating. No charges have been filed.

Police Captain Bob Adams told ABC11 that WCPSS contacted police and reported that someone came forward with the allegations. Adams says the person who reported the information was not the alleged victim and so far police have not spoken with her.

"We plan to do that today," Adams said. "This was reported to us late Thursday. We started investigating Friday. In dealing with students and faculty and everyone out for the weekend, we are back on the case today."

Cutchin also teaches at Fuquay-Varina Middle School. He has been told he's not allowed on Wake County Public Schools property pending the outcome of the investigation.

Right now he's suspended with pay from both teaching and coaching while the investigation continues.

For more details on the story, please click the following link:

NY: Elmira Psychiatric Center Tops Children's Psychiatric Restraint List

February 15, 2010
By Jennifer Searcy
Founder/Director of Public Policy & Affairs
The Coalition for Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports

James T. Mulder of the Post-Standard reported today the restraint and seclusion rates for New York's children's psychiatric treatment centers. Elmira Psychiatric Center tops the list as having the most restraints in psychiatric hospitals in the state.

"Triggers" of restraint were reported as "children fighting over a toy" or "a child attacking another patient or staff member" - and that restraints were used as a "last resort."

The rates, based upon the rate of patient hours in restraint per 1,000 inpatient hours (i.e. a rate of .33 would equal approximately 4 1/2 hours), were obtained from the New York Office for Mental Health.

The list is as follows:

  • Elmira Psychiatric Center, .35
  • Hutchings Psychiatric Center, .33
  • St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, .33
  • Greater Binghamton Health Center, .32
  • Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center, .29
  • Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, .20
  • Brooklyn Children’s Psychiatric Center, .18
  • Rochester Psychiatric Center, .17
  • Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center, .16
  • Bronx Children’s Psychiatric Center, .13
  • Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center, .09
  • South Beach Psychiatric Center, .03
  • Queens Children’s Psychiatric Center, .02
To read the full article, please click the following link:

ACTION ALERT: Missouri HB 1543

Forwarded message from Ange Hemmer of MO Families against Seclusion & Restraint:

**Note: This [bill] effects ALL students, but disproportianatley effects children with disabilitites. Legislators state that the intent of the of the bill is to protect teachers, but the law (even if unintentionally) would leave students at serious risk.**

Missouri HB 1543, a proposed state omnibus bill dealing in part to improve school safety, is continuing the use of corporal punishment in schools and adding the vague language “use of force to protect persons or property”. This bill is far from the minimal standards set forth by proposed federal legislation HR 4247 and SB 2860.

The proposed language in Missouri HB 1543 does not protect teachers or students in several ways:

  • Does not define “use of force,” “to protect persons or property,” “reasonable,” or “certificated personnel
  • Does not require notification to parents if schools apply “use of force” or “spanking”
  • Does allow any school personnel to apply “use of force” but only allows “certificated personnel” to apply “spanking” (certificated in what?)
  • Does not require any follow up (such as a visit to school nurse) to ensure applying “use of force” or “spanking” was in fact “reasonable” nor any methods as to avoid future applying of “use of force” or “spanking”
  • Does not ban proven deadly “use of force” (restraints) such as those that restrict breathing (e.g., prone restraint)
  • Does not ban “spanking”. There was an amendment to ban spanking of special education students, but this has been withdrawn as of 2/10/2010
  • Does not allow Children's services to conduct an investigation if abuse allegations are due to “spanking” oruse of force to protect persons or property”. (To understand more about the convoluted investigation process, go here

Who determines what is “reasonable”?

We would like to believe that school districts and school personnel can determine, with good judgment, what constitutes what is “reasonable”, but even stories over the past month show this not to be the case (see below). Not all schools or teachers are bad and many, if not most, have good judgment and intent; however, this bill does not protect those students who are attending schools or who have teachers that are using poor judgment and are abusing corporal punishment and/or use of force nor does it protect students or personnel when personnel hasn’t had access to adequate training and support.

Corporal punishment/use of force

According to The Center for Effective Discipline, Missouri is one of only 20 states that still allows corporal punishment (in Missouri’s case “spanking” is allowed) in schools:

Missouri model policy in progress

Experts in the state of Missouri (designated as such by DESE in agreement with Missouri statute) agree that the use of force such as restraint and seclusion should only be used in cases of imminent harm and that certain forms of restraint should not be used (e.g., prone restraint). Local, state, and national experts in the fields of education and behavior management agree that focus should be on de-escalation and positive methods of preventing behavior.

Federal legislation in progress

The federal government is currently working on legislation to avoid the misuse and abuse of seclusion and restraint (a type of “use of force”) in part because states and local school districts shave failed to do so. The federal bills in progress (HR 4247 and SB 2860) are consistent with the Children’s Health Act of 2000 and federal protections already in place in other settings.

Take action: protect the teachers and the students

  • Call your state representatives and senators and tell them that the provision regarding “spanking” and “use of force” in HB 1543 does not protect teachers, students, or school districts. At a minimum, Missouri should:
    • Ban deadly “use of force” (i.e., restraints) such as those that restrict breathing (e.g., prone restraint)
    • Define what is “reasonable”, for example in other areas as of HB 1543 “acts of violence” is used and in federal bill “imminent harm” is used
    • Ban corporal punishment
    • Require parent permission/notification when “use of force” or “spanking” (if left in bill) is applied
    • Require minimal training in positive interventions, de-escalation, and safe methods of “use of force”
  • Call your federal representatives and tell them to support HR 4247 and SB 2860. We need a minimal federal baseline to keep students and school staff safe. It is clear that even with current information, states such as Missouri are missing the point!

Government Contacts

Ange Hemmer
Missouri: Families Against Seclusion and Restraint

Friday, February 12, 2010

TCFPBIS - Who We Are and What We Do

Founded in September 2008, The Coalition for Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports works tirelessly to support and promote the need for more protective legislation regarding school abuse and the misuse of restraints and seclusions and to assist those directly impacted by such abusive "interventions."

We have created this blog to share with you news articles, editorials, information, opinions, commentary, and research about the need for and benefits of positive behavioral interventions and supports.

We will also be sharing news articles, editorials, information, opinions and commentary about restraints, seclusions, and other abusive practices in public, private, and residential schools, group homes, hospitals, psychiatric treatment centers, and other locations as we become aware of them.

Thank you for visiting. We hope you find the information we share helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to share a personal story, please email

Jennifer Searcy
Founder/Director of Public Policy and Affairs
The Coalition for Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports

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FL: 6 yr old Arrested & Committed to Mental Hospital after Temper Tantrums in School


February 10, 2010

A Port St. Lucie first-grade student was handcuffed and committed to a mental health facility because of her classroom behavior, and her parents are furious that the school took such extreme measures.

Mickey Shalansky explained Wednesday what he said happened to his 6-year-old daughter at Parkway Elementary.

"She couldn't put her in two handcuffs because her wrists are that small, so she put them both in the same handcuff and left marks on my daughter's arms," Shalansky told WPBF 25 News' Bob Kaple.

Deputies said his daughter, Haley, got upset and stormed out her classroom when her teacher asked her to do something. The report said it then escalated into a temper tantrum in the principal's office.

According to the incident report, a deputy said Haley was out of control. It said she "kicked the wall, went over to the desk and threw the calculator, electric pencil sharpener, telephone, container of writing utensils and other objects across the desk."

She was then handcuffed.

Even worse is what happened the next day, Haley's parents said.

A deputy was called to the school again after Haley had another tantrum in the classroom and principal's office.

The sheriff's report said she was yelling, throwing things and hit the principal, who is eight months pregnant. This time, she wasn't handcuffed. She was committed to a mental facility.

Haley's parents said their daughter has a temper problem, but has no history of mental illness. Her mother said the school should have called her so she could pick up her daughter rather than have her committed.

Announcement: Justice4Children Internet Radio Show 2/12/10

Forwarded Message from Theresa Edwards:










Let's talk and Come Together.

Our Children Need Our Help and Co-operation.

If you have any announcements that you would like to have put out on the air please submit them to me at

PA: 10.5 Million Settlement in Omega Leach Strangulation Death at Chad Youth Enhancement Center

The family of a Philadelphia teenager who was strangled after being placed in a restraint hold at a Tennessee treatment center has settled a federal lawsuit against the facility for $10.5 million.

The family of Omega "Manny" Leach, 17, agreed to drop claims against the city and its Department of Human Services, which sent the troubled teen to the Chad Youth Enhancement Center despite warnings that it was dangerous.

A key piece of evidence, said family attorney Thomas R. Kline, was a photograph from a surveillance camera showing a Chad mental-health technician with both hands around Leach's neck as he pinned him to the floor.

Tennessee authorities ruled Leach's death a homicide, but the mental-health worker, Randall Rae, has not been charged with a crime.

Rae no longer works at Chad, and Philadelphia stopped sending emotionally troubled children there shortly after Leach's 2007 death.


Chad, now the Oak Plains Academy, has been owned by Universal Health Services Inc., a for-profit company based in King of Prussia, since 2005. Leach's family agreed to drop the suit against UHS.

Daniel Sherry, an attorney for Chad and UHS, said the settlement, which was completed last Friday, did not include an admission of wrongdoing.

Related Stories:

TN Handle With Care

Thursday, February 11, 2010

PA: Lawsuit Filed in YMCA Alum Abuse Case

NOTE: For more information on this story, please see this related article, from last year:

PA: Parents hire attorney to investigate alleged child abuse at daycare center

Excerpt from

February 10, 2010
By Patti Yauger

SOUTH CONNELLSVILLE - Several area parents have filed a civil lawsuit against five YMCA Child Development Center workers who allegedly gave pickling salt to their children as a form of discipline.

Through their legal counsel - attorneys Alan Perer and Brian W. DelVecchio of the Pittsburgh law firm of Swensen Perer & Kontos - parents Brian and Janean Ansell, Shannon Partridge, Jessica Harr, Rodney and Lori Humbertson, Amber Doppelheur, Ryan Timms and Hillary Hamborsky have requested that a jury hear the matter on behalf of their children.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are five employees, including Stephanie Griffith, Kristen Homes, Ann Lancaster, Derek Hillen and Kerri Trich, along with their employer, the Regional Family YMCA of Laurel Highlands and the National Council of Young Men's Christian Associations of the United States of America.

According to the court document, day-care center assistant group supervisor Rebecca DeWitt shared a conversation with Partridge that revealed Griffin had given a 6-year-old child alum as a means of discipline in January 2009.

Alum is a pickling salt that when ingested causes a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea and choking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it also is corrosive upon ingestion.

Alum may cause expressions of fear and behavioral changes in young children when exposed to the substance as adverse stimuli, the court document states.

When Partridge questioned her two children about any incidents involving the pickling salt, she was told that a white powder had been given to them and that "it hurt their mouth."

In the court document, Partridge said that her children had experienced unexplained stomach pain, vomiting and other ailments. One of the children had also experienced nightmares.


The lawsuit charges each of the employees and the national and local YMCA with negligence, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

DelVecchio said the lawsuit was filed after the YMCA failed to fully acknowledge the workers' abuse of the youngsters.


Fayette County Court Judge Steve P. Leskinen has been assigned the case.

The defendants have 20 days to file a response.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

OH: 3 Employees Acquitted in Restraint Death

CLEVELAND — A jury on Tuesday acquitted three former employees of an Ohio treatment center for troubled teens of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 17-year-old girl who suffocated and choked on her own vomit after being restrained facedown on the floor.

Cynthia King, Lazarita Menendez and Ebony Ray were also found not guilty of child endangering in the December 2008 death of Faith Finley. Menendez was also found not guilty of felonious assault and inciting to violence.

Menendez faced additional charges because she initiated the incident by taking Finley's CD player, which the disruptive 17-year-old used to calm herself, and shoved the girl's hand under her as she lay on the floor, prosecutors said.

The women, who pleaded not guilty, were fired from the Parmadale Family Services center after Finley's death. The Cuyahoga County coroner ruled Finley's death a homicide.

The type of restraint prosecutors say the women used was later banned by Gov. Ted Strickland at the recommendation of state agencies that said the technique carries a high risk of serious injury or death.

Ray, of Broadview Heights, and Menendez, of Bedford Heights, were accused of wrestling Finley to the ground on her chest and applying pressure to her back — a technique known as prone restraint — while King watched.


Center director Tom Mullen said Tuesday that the workers violated the center's personnel policies and will not be rehired.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Finley's family last year against Parmadale, Catholic Charities and the three workers was settled last month. The lawsuit had sought at least $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, but both parties were prohibited from discussing details of the agreement.

Slideshow: 9 Most Ridiculous Reasons Kids Have Been Arrested

The Huffington Post is currently running a slideshow of story excerpts on the most ridiculous reasons why kids have been arrested.

CA: Lawsuit - Teacher Allegedly Hit 15 yr old with Clipboard

From The Orange County Register:

Published: Feb. 5, 2010
Updated: Feb. 10, 2010 12:12 p.m.

HUNTINGTON BEACH -- A Huntington Beach teen is suing the city's high school district claiming that a teacher hit him in the face with a clipboard and then asked, "You want another shot?", according to court documents.

Cruz Pontes, now 16, filed a lawsuit Jan. 28 against the Huntington Beach Union High School District and teacher George Steven Higi alleging assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. Higi is a language arts teacher at Valley Vista High School, a continuation school.

The suit alleges that Pontes sustained bodily injury, shock, and injury to his nervous system. He needed X-rays, hospitalization and an ambulance, the suit says.


Pontes previously filed a claim against the district for $200,000, which school board members voted to deny Sept. 4.

The suit says Higi struck Pontes Sept. 5 while the student was at the Huntington Beach High School gymnasium for a field trip and was sitting on the bleachers.

Pontes responded by asking, "Do you know what you have done?" the suit says.

Higi replied: "You shouldn't have interrupted me. You want another shot?" the suit says.


Pontes alleges that school administration "brushed off" the incident saying, "It's not our problem, go to your own school and handle it."

He says he was later labeled a "snitch" and assaulted by other students. Pontes was not allowed to return to regular school programs, the suit said.

For the full article, please follow the link:

FL: Say 'no' to mints in pill bottles

Excerpt from The Tampa Tribune:

Published: February 8, 2010

What two fourth-grade teachers at Westchase Elementary School apparently thought was a creative way to calm students about to take the FCAT made at least one caregiver fear the teachers were sending a different message – that taking drugs while under stress is OK.

Sandy Young walked into her grandson's fourth-grade classroom last Thursday and saw pill bottles on each students' desk. Her mind raced with questions and thoughts of disbelief.

Young said she immediately questioned Westchase Elementary fourth-grade teacher Beth Watson about the pill bottles, which were filled with pieces of small mint candy.

"She said it was nothing but some mints; it was just something special for the kids, for the FCAT to mellow them out," Young said.


Young said the bottle reads in part: "Watson's Whiz Kid Pharmacy. Take 1 tablet by mouth EVERY 5 MINUTES to cure FCAT jitters. Repeated use may cause craft to spontaneously ooze from pores. No refills. Ms. (Deborah) Falcon's authorization required."

The school received one complaint since pill bottles were distributed on Thursday, said Linda Cobbe, a school district spokeswoman. It's believed only two fourth-grade teachers at the school distributed the pill bottles.

The principal met with the students on Monday to confirm the pill bottles contained mints that were safe to eat. The students were asked to dump the mints in a separate container and the pill bottles were thrown away, Cobbe said.

She said the bottle idea was tied to the children's book the students recently read, "George's Marvelous Medicine," about a boy who concocts potions to try to change the disposition of his cranky grandmother.

The teachers were just trying to use a creative way to get across to the students not to be stressed with the FCAT writing examination that will be administered to fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders beginning today, Cobbe said.

"Elementary teachers do creative things to make learning fun," Cobbe said.

For the full article, please click the following link: