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Old 12-23-2011, 02:26 PM
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Angry School puts autistic child in duffel bag

http://news.yahoo.com/school-accused...182229844.html


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A 9-year-old autistic boy who misbehaved at school was stuffed into a duffel bag and the drawstring pulled tight, according to his mother, who said she found him wiggling inside as a teacher's aide stood by.

The mother of fourth-grader Christopher Baker said her son called out to her when she walked up to him in the bag Dec. 14. The case has spurred an online petition calling for the firing of school employees responsible.

"He was treated like trash and thrown in the hallway," Chris' mother, Sandra Baker, said Thursday. She did not know how exactly how long he had been in the bag, but probably not more than 20 minutes.

Mercer County schools Interim Superintendent Dennis Davis said confidentiality laws forbid him from commenting.

"The employees of the Mercer County Public Schools are qualified professionals who treat students with respect and dignity while providing a safe and nurturing learning environment," Davis said in a statement.

State education officials said they were investigating.

Chris is a student at Mercer County Intermediate School in Harrodsburg in central Kentucky. The day had barely begun when his family was called to the school because Chris was acting up. He is enrolled in a program for students with special needs.

Walking toward his classroom, Baker's mother saw the gym bag. There was a small hole at the top, she said, and she heard a familiar voice.

"Momma, is that you?" Chris said, according to his mother.

A teacher's aide was there, and Baker demanded that her son be released. At first, the aide struggled to undo the drawstring, but the boy was pulled out of the bag, which had some small balls inside and resembled a green Army duffel bag, Baker said.

"When I got him out of the bag, his poor little eyes were as big as half dollars and he was sweating," Baker said. "I tried to talk to him and get his side of the reason they put him in there, and he said it was because he wouldn't do his work."

Baker said when school officials called the family to pick him up, they were told he was "jumping off the walls." Days later, at a meeting with school officials, Baker said she was told the boy had smirked at the teacher when he was told to put down a basketball, then threw it across the room.

At a meeting with school district officials, the bag was described as a "therapy bag," Baker said, though she wasn't clear exactly what that meant. She said her son would sometimes be asked to roll over a bag filled with balls as a form of therapy, but she didn't know her son was being placed in the bag. She said school officials told her it was not the first time they had put him in the bag.

So far, almost 700 people have signed a petition on the website change.org. Lydia Brown, an autistic 18-year-old Georgetown University freshman from Boston, said she started it after reading a story about Chris.

"That would not be wrong just for an autistic student. That would be wrong to do to anyone," Brown said.

Advocates for the autistic were outraged.

Landon Bryce of San Jose, Calif., a former teacher who blogs about issues related to autism, said the school's treatment of Chris was "careless and disrespectful."

"A lot of the damage that we do to students with all kinds of disabilities is by treating them as though they deserve to be treated in a way that's different from other people," Bryce said.

Baker said she heard different accounts about her son's behavior that day.

Baker stopped short of calling for the dismissal of school employees, but she said they should be suspended. They also need more training, she said.

In Kentucky, there are no laws on using restraint or seclusion in public schools, according to documents on the state Department of Education's website.

A July letter from the state agency to special education directors said the state had investigated two informal complaints this year.

In one, "a student (was) nearly asphyxiated while being restrained," and in the other, a student vomited from panic attacks after spending most of an academic year "confined to a closet, with no ventilation or outside source of light," according to the letter.

Baker's case was first reported by WLEX and WKYT.
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:27 PM
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You talk about a Mom on a warpath. I'd be carrying scalps in my hands down the hallways of that school!

I don't like to cuss, but really....W.T.F! is wrong with people!
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:33 PM
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Wow... I don't know what i would do if I came into a school and found my child stuffed in a bag.

I.... I don't even have anything to say. I'm dumbfounded
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Miakoda View Post
You talk about a Mom on a warpath. I'd be carrying scalps in my hands down the hallways of that school!

I don't like to cuss, but really....W.T.F! is wrong with people!
I'd ****ing grab people by the hair and toss them around the room and ****ing bite people like a wild animal.

Nobody ****s with my baby!
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:52 PM
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I'd fly thru that school like a tornado. they wouldn't know what hit them by the time I was finshed. mess with MY baby? I don't think so!
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:52 PM
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This is beyond sickening. Everyone of that staff that ok'd this should be fired. To do this to any child, disabled or not is wrong.
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:14 PM
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I was thinking back to the last time I helped my sister set up her classroom. There is some weird devices that they use in "lifeskills" the fancy PC way of saying special ed now. I can't think of one that would be described as a "duffel bag with balls in it" but I can see someone somewhere using it.

Her classroom has a giant birdcage kind of swing, tunnels, a padded room, a full bathroom, a full kitchen and washer and dryer, a restraint chair, a therapy mini room for one kid who has seizures under certain circumstances, pictoboards, touch pictoboards, weighted vests, recliners, i pad stations, a wii, and mountains of toys. This is in addition to "normal" classroom equipment.

I'm a little hesitant to say something sinister was happening in this case, I didn't read that this kid was a sobbing wreck and being confined to the bag as punishment. Some autistic spectrum kids have some pretty unique coping methods and often times you have to let them do what works within the confines of the job - especially when you reach that point where it's just a bad day and you do have to call the parent/s to have them come get their kid.
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:46 PM
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Kat, my Mom taught Adapted P.E. for 18 years. I helped her an awful lot be it in the schools with her or volunteering at the Special Olympics.

I have 16 hours of graduate level Special Education courses.

I worked in pediatric rehabilitation (physical, occupational, and speech therapies) at a large tri-parish hospital for 2 years.

And I have a special needs son myself. He is in a special education classroom.

Never, in all my life, have I heard of stuffing a child into a duffel bag.

There are too many aids (weighted vests, weighted blankets, etc.) and too many alternatives (making a tent in a corner somewhere to allow the child a sensory-free place to relax and regain composure, etc.) for this to ever be used much less acceptable.

And if the child was sweating and anxious to get out, then such a "treatment" is obviously not working nor the correct one to implement.

However, the telephone was invented in 1876. I would venture to assume that the school had access to at least one of these contraptions. Use it. If it was that bad, the mother should've been called.

Cole's teacher will call me if there is a problem (like the day he was having some off behavior and then started having siezures).
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:53 PM
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That is completely bizarre.

Umm . . . just what made you think putting the kid in a duffel bag was a good idea??
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miakoda View Post
Kat, my Mom taught Adapted P.E. for 18 years. I helped her an awful lot be it in the schools with her or volunteering at the Special Olympics.

I have 16 hours of graduate level Special Education courses.

I worked in pediatric rehabilitation (physical, occupational, and speech therapies) at a large tri-parish hospital for 2 years.

And I have a special needs son myself. He is in a special education classroom.

Never, in all my life, have I heard of stuffing a child into a duffel bag.

There are too many aids (weighted vests, weighted blankets, etc.) and too many alternatives (making a tent in a corner somewhere to allow the child a sensory-free place to relax and regain composure, etc.) for this to ever be used much less acceptable.

And if the child was sweating and anxious to get out, then such a "treatment" is obviously not working nor the correct one to implement.

However, the telephone was invented in 1876. I would venture to assume that the school had access to at least one of these contraptions. Use it. If it was that bad, the mother should've been called.

Cole's teacher will call me if there is a problem (like the day he was having some off behavior and then started having siezures).
From reading the story it sounded like the Mom had been called and that they were waiting for her to get there.Keep in mind that they way the story is written in this case is pretty one sided. I imagine with your years of special ed experience and rehab experience you've run across a few things that made you go... "huh?" I know I hear usually at least two stories a year from my sister's classroom (names excluded) of kids parents doing something or the kids themselves doing something that just seems downright weird, maybe even not ok in just about any other circumstance. But for that kid, what they were doing was working or building towards something bigger and better.

I am just trying to figure out that for sake of the argument how anyone could stuff a 9 year old in a dufflebag if they didn't want to be there. My suspicion is that this classroom simply had a version of Bodysox, and a parent walked up to see their kid rolling around in the thing and didn't understand. It happens. As far as the kid being sweaty - weren't they just at gym and wasn't the kid bouncing off the walls? As far as being anxious wasn't his Mom just called into school to pick him up for misbehaving?
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