9 responses to “This Is Not Education: Abuse of Autistic Students in Pennsylvania”

  1. AWV

    I don’t understand how a person needs “training and support” to know that they shouldn’t stomp on a child’s feet and pull their hair.

  2. Astrid

    I totally agree with AWV that it takes common sense, not training, to know that you shouldn’t abuse children. Besides, no-one would’ve made such an excuse if the children had been non-disabled.

  3. RMJ

    Horrific. I assume there was no kind of criminal case?

  4. Kali

    There are places like Community Legal Services, or Community Legal Resources, in most major cities and many smaller ones. While that doesn’t cover the cost of energy, time, and willingness to go to court, it does at least put legal services on a low-to-no fee sliding scale so that cost isn’t the only factor in whether someone can bring forward a lawsuit.

    The Attorney General’s office might also be willing to prosecute in such cases, which would mean no financial outlay for legal services again.

    Legal resources DO exist for people who can’t afford to pay. To say that justice is available only to those who can pay is to erase good organizations that do nothing but work for those who can’t afford typical legal fees. By making it sound like they do not exist, it becomes that much less likely that someone who needs them will know to look for them.


  5. Ouyang Dan

    Even with lawyers willing to volunteer time, taking a case through the courts requires time, energy, the ability to pull supporting materials together, and patience.

    That is a direct line from the OP, there, Kali. s.e. mentioned that there are pro-bono services available. nowhere in the post did ou imply that these services do not exist. In fact, what ou DID do what highlight the fact that while these services are available, they are often overtaxed as far as energy and resources go. Ou also mentioned that these services also depend on the parents and caretakers of the children who have already been traumatized and abused, that their resources and energy and time have to be taxed and strained. Court cases involve time away from work, which does equal money. It also interferes with routines for children, it is taxing on the spoons of parents who may also have disabilities (which seems to be erased from your scenario).

    But let’s remove class for a moment (even though you can’t ever really do that). Do you think these services are really universally accessible to everyone across the board, irrespective of race? With strained resources and time on these Community Services, who have waiting lists for representation, do you really think this is going to happen fairly and equally? Is the information equally available to everyone (OOPS! That’s class privilege again!)?

    Sure, the services you mention do exist, but I think it is disingenuous to imply that arguing that class privilege lead to a settlement means that people are going to think that they don’t exist.

    Just think about what you are positing here. You are kind of erasing some margins and divides with all of that ‘splainin’.

  6. The Bald Soprano

    RMJ: The OP said that the teacher has been serving time for reckless endangerment; I’m pretty sure that there must have been a criminal case for that to happen.

  7. Clay Boggess

    If it is true that the teacher did not receive the proper training and support, that’s the fault of the district. However, it’s even more the fault of the district that she was hired in the first place. Why did the district not catch these obvious character flaws during the hiring process? More importantly, what kind of screening process is in place when it comes to interviewing and hiring teacher applicants? It’s hard enough to teach in a main-stream classroom let alone in one with special needs.

  8. RMJ

    Whoops, sorry s.e. for the poor reading comprehension, and thanks Bald Soprano for filling in. Reckless endangerment and a six-week sentence seems so…inappropriate to the severity of this abuse. According to Wiki, reckless endangerment is about not heeding possible harm to another individual, not about actual physical abuse of children.

  9. Alison

    When I did teacher training they taught us that we are considered more culpable and responsible for a child’s wellbeing than parents because we get specific training. I found it overwhelming to comprehend, and I’m amazed on a daily basis that people leave their most precious things for me to care for and guide. But this? This is inexplicable. I’ve experience with ASD & ADHD (*some* training) and at their worst behaviour I bear-hug the child, send the class outside if need be, ask a student to call the assistant principle, because this sort of thing is exactly what they’re there for. That’s not always practical or perfect but, just for other readers, there’s a gauge of a style of management. I suppose what might also be worth mentioning is that I do teach in a mainstream classroom – they usually include a child with specific needs. This woman’s problems sound like they are character-based, not training- or profession- based.