Thursday, May 17, 2012
Andrew's Voice Speaks Out!
Due to these and other observations I decided to wire Andrew on April 19, 2012 with a digital recorder to find out exactly what's going on at school. To my disbelief, things were far worse than I had imagined. I was horrified at what was on the audio recording. The teacher and aide verbally abused, harassed, bullied, and physically forced Andrew and caused him physical and emotional pain. He was yelled at repeatedly to the point of him shaking out of fear to take his backpack off instead of providing him with any assistance. Then you hear a struggle from the teacher with Andrew while she is continuing to fuss at him. Also, due to his low muscle tone and seizure medications he can get fatigued easily. He also has tightened hamstrings which is common in children with low muscle tone. During carpet-time he had laid back on the floor, was not making a sound, and wasn't bothering anyone else. The teacher begins to yell at him to sit up. She proceeds to physically force him into a sitting position and forces his legs into the "crisscross applesauce position." This position is uncomfortable and painful for him due to the tightened hamstrings. When he was forced into this position he began to cry. The aide yelled at him to stop crying and had another child to tell him to stop crying. Then the teacher says, "There's no reason he can't sit there just like everyone else. There's nothing enabling him from doing that." Undoubtedly this teacher has very little knowledge about children with disabilities and yet she's teaching a special needs preschool class. The teacher yells at a student for stating the wrong type of weather for this particular day and yells at another student for not pointing correctly as he's counting. Some of the children, including Andrew, were mocked and laughed at for behaviors from their disability they had no control over. There were no positive reinforcements, encouragement, or proper teaching techniques used during any of this audio. Andrew was ignored throughout the day, except for the times he was yelled at and physically forced. At one time the aide was literally screaming at him to "sit down" repeatedly. At the end of the day the aide told Andrew, "Don't come tomorrow either, stay home with your nurse." Then you hear the teacher laugh at the remark. There's much more to this audio to be released. This audio is very disturbing.
Why? Why? Why? Andrew did not make a sound all day except for when he cried out in pain due to the teacher's force. He was never disruptive nor did he hurt anyone. This was done by the teacher and aide out of complete malice. They knew Andrew nor the other children could tell anyone. Andrew is non-verbal and can't repeat anything that's told to him.
This audio recording was presented to the school administrator on April 23, 2012. As of today, the teacher and aide remain in the classroom with the children. I immediately removed Andrew from the class. The district will not give me any answers related to the matter. When I have asked why they haven't been suspended pending the investigation, the district responds with, "This is a personnel issue and we can't release that information to you." When I spoke with the Union County Public School district on Monday they gave me this same answer regardless of what question was asked. There was a closed door school board meeting on May 9, 2012 outside the county concerning personnel issues. Following that meeting, the teacher's position is posted on their website as a job opening at Rock Rest Elementary School for the new school year beginning in August. However, it seems as the district has chosen to leave the staff in place the remainder of the school year to make this quietly go away. We will not let this quietly go away and will give a voice that these children need. We would like an apology from the teacher and aide for the way they chose to treat Andrew. Also, we are looking for answers and for the district to take appropriate action. We would also like to ask, "Is it Union County Public School's stand that verbal abuse, harassment, bullying, and physical force does not warrant removing staff from his/her duties immediately?" It's been over 3 weeks with no answers and the teachers are still in the classroom. We have full intentions of going as far as necessary to ensure districts are not allowed to cover up these type of behaviors from staff. It is our hope that North Carolina joins New Jersey in legislation to pass a law that requires staff to be immediately removed from the classroom that violate any anti-bullying policy.
Please join me in making Andrew's, and the other children's, voice loud and clear. These type of behaviors will not be tolerated in our schools. No child should be treated this way. But when the teachers prey on the most vulnerable they should be disciplined. www.facebook.com/saynototeacherbullies