Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Child Abuse in Schools

I just read an article on the CNN website of a child put in restraints at school who told the teacher, "I can't breathe" and then died minutes later. CNN Story I am just horrified that children are victimized this way in the public school system.

Having had a child who was being abused by a teacher, I fought the school board for nearly a year to get her out of the classroom (officially). I pulled her out immediately and had a friend who was a licensed teacher tutor her during the day.

The school, teacher, principal and school board were in complete denial even though the majority of parents of children in the classroom complained and reported incidents.

When I finally got my child not only out of that classroom but in another school (closer to our home) I actually had the principal of the new school ask me how I managed to win against such odds. He told me the other parents literally sold their homes and moved to another school zone.

I told him I had a bad memory so when the school board called me back at one point, I hit the recorder on my phone to tape any information I might be provided with to file a formal complaint. They ended up connecting me to the President of the School Board who identified himself by name and then proceeded to threaten me (to have my child taken from me) and told me I had no rights.

I kept the tape, played by the rules, filed all the paperwork, went to hearings before board members. When in the end they told me I couldn't move my child because there was no abuse in the classroom (without doing an investigation or interviewing the other parents and children who were eyewitnesses and victims of physical abuse) I told them I would not be putting my child back in school.

They again threatened to have social services take my child because I wouldn't put her in school. It was then that I told them about the tape of the President. They immediately told me, "that's illegal, you can't use that in a court of law." I said, "correct, but I can use it in a court of public opinion and every media outlet in the state will have copies of it by the end of the day if necessary."

I got my child transferred with no further problems. She thrived in her new school and classroom. The Principal of the new school later wrote a letter to the Principal of the former school who was maligning me to others, and told him, "if you have any more trouble-maker parents like her, send them my way. She's doing great work here for my school and students." (I was volunteering in different capacities for the school.)

So I got lucky. Someone made a mistake and I unwittingly got evidence that saved my case. What about all my child's classmates and their families? Why is it so hard to hold people accountable and make them do the right thing?

I feel like society has been reduced to the basest among us. Lying is everyday, laziness and incompetence is the rule, obstructing others from seeking justice is part of people's job descriptions. I'm so tired of corruption at every level and there seems to be no way to combat it. Okay, maybe I'm just tired and cranky, but this is my blog after all, so this is where I get to rant. Funny how I can still be so pissed and indignant and all this happened 16 years ago. Okay, I'm done now.


PENolan said...

Jesus Fucking Christ.

It's a good thing your story is out here. Hopefully, when other parents find themselves in a similar situation, and are sleepless and googling for answers, they'll find a bit of support.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, we have to be avocates for our loved ones, as well as any others we happen to see along the way. Most parents are living in the moment, do they google for answers? Keep all notes, back up, your information always, one never knows what will be useful or needed in the future, where our children are concerned. I can understand why it still riles your willies. :)