Tuesday, April 13, 2010

VIDEO: America's Forgotten Children

This heart-wrenching video by Anna Moore and Nelson Rivera is a must see for anyone interested in learning more about the physical and emotional abuse our children have suffered in schools.

Children have been seriously injured - some have even died during restraints performed by school personnel, their deaths ruled by coroners as homicides - yet all-too-often no charges are filed nor is any disciplinary action taken against those who have caused those injuries or deaths.

In too many cases, schools willfully, knowingly, and deliberately cover up the abuse, even going so far as to manufacture evidence against the child or family. Then they assign blame to the child and/or family for the abuse. "If only he/she hadn't said/done that we wouldn't have needed to restraint him/her." Even if the child's behaviors/actions weren't violent or could be considered dangerous to themselves or others.

Some states also have laws which grant immunity to educators who harm children in schools - so they cannot be prosecuted.

State police departments and offices of protective services have turned families away who seek help - because the allegations involve a school or school personnel.

Why are schools and school personnel (legally) held to a different standard? This must stop!

Please watch the video, and if you are so inclined, forward the video to as many as you can.

Please also consider contacting your state lawmakers and ask for more protections for disabled children. Ask that those who intentionally harm children in our schools be held criminally accountable for assault, battery, or homicide where appropriate. Ask that those who work with disabled children be fully trained to recognize how "behaviors" can be part and parcel to the child's disability - that those "behaviors" are how those children communicate. Ask for training in other, safer, scientifically-based methods (such as PBIS) which could be used instead of aversives to "deal with" problem behaviors.

Thanks for your attention to this very serious matter!

Announcement: Dr. Phil Show on School Abuse/Arrests 4/15/10

From Dr. Phi:

Fighting for Your Child

Parents: What should you do when you feel your child’s rights are being violated? Twelve-year-old Alexa made headlines when she was arrested for doodling on her desk at school. Her mother, Moraima, says she feels outraged and helpless by the incident. Areva Martin, attorney and author of The Everyday Advocate, weighs in. Then, dramatic surveillance video captures a mute, autistic 14-year-old boy being dragged out of a classroom and placed in a dark room. Hear how his father, Vikas, claims his son was being abused. And, a technique known as prone restraint is being used in schools across the country to subdue out-of-control students. Is this method discipline or abuse? Dr. Phil examines the story of an eighth grader who died after he was physically restrained by a teacher.

OR: Volunteer, 19, arrested/Charged with sexual abuse of middle-schooler

Excerpt from Statesman Journal.com:

Man made advances at orchestra event, document says


    A Salem-Keizer school volunteer has been arrested on accusations of sexually abusing a 13-year-old middle school student at a music competition.
    Salem police arrested Darian Seth Laughlin, 19, of Salem on Friday on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse, said Salem police spokesman Lt. Dave Okada.
    The suspect allegedly rubbed the girl's knee and upper thigh several times while they sat together at the Thursday event at South Salem High School, according to jail documents released Monday.
    The girl told police that she pushed Laughlin's hand away to stop his sexual advances, according to a probable-cause statement written by Salem Police Detective Jeff Staples. The document was released Monday after Laughlin made his first court appearance.
    In an interview with Staples, Laughlin acknowledged that he knew that the girl was 13, and he reportedly said that he would have had sexual intercourse with her if she would have let him, Staples wrote.
    Laughlin also talked to the alleged victim and her friend, also 13, about "having a threesome" at his apartment, according to the detective's report.

Disability Scoop: Down Syndrome Takes Center Stage on Glee

Excerpt from Disability Scoop.com: An interview with Lauren Potter

By Michelle Diament
APRIL 12, 2010

The hit show “Glee” returns Tuesday for a nine-episode run on Fox this spring and so too does the show’s inclusion of characters with disabilities.

Last fall, actress Lauren Potter, 19, who has Down syndrome, debuted on the show as Becky Jackson, the school’s newest cheerleader, or Cheerio. Now, Potter is back for two more episodes — “The Power of Madonna,” airing April 20, and “Home,” airing April 27.

The experience mirrors real life for Potter in many ways. The bubbly teen tried out to be a cheerleader at her Riverside, Calif. high school, but didn’t make the squad. Then, after graduating last year, Potter beat out 13 other girls for the role on Glee. Nowadays, Potter splits her time between acting and attending a life skills program.

In a candid conversation with Disability Scoop, Potter (pictured at left with castmate Jane Lynch) chats about life on set and what’s next for Becky.

To read the interview, please click the following link: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2010/04/12/lauren-potter-glee/7618/