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January 18, 2012

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Comments

Julie Foxx

Thank you for posting about this very important topic! I hope more people learn about and support the Act!

Sandy Alperstein

Great piece, Charlie! We at Our Children Left Behind (http://www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com) are collecting stories of abuse in schools and are actively working toward federal legislation in this area. We distribute action alerts through our yahoo list (you can sign up through the website). Another group very active in this area is COPAA (http://www.copaa.org). Many COPAA and OCLB members are part of APRAIS, the group dedicated to banning restraint and seclusion in school. Individuals can do SO much by simply receiving our action alerts and taking quick action (mostly just emailing your legislators with a sample script we provide). It takes a village to protect our kids - so please step up to help! Thanks, Charlie, for helping spread the word, and all you do for our kids!

Jamoore1

My Son was Restrained and Put in Seclusion, Yours Could be Next....
http://www.change.org/petitions/my-son-was-restrained-and-put-in-seclusion-yours-could-be-next

Dear Parents and Advocates, Please ask your Florida Senator and Florida House Representative to Co-sponsor restraint and seclusion bills - Senate Bill S144 and House Bill H1467.

S144 and HB1467 will set long-overdue standards to protect children in Florida schools from physical and psychological harm and ensure a safe learning environment for teachers and students alike.

Some of the very important highlights of the bills are the following"
Prohibit the very dangerous prone restraint
Prohibit supine restraint
Prohibit mechanical restraint
Prohibit seclusion

Regards,

Phyllis Musumeci

Anna Moore

Families Against Restraint and Seclusion

http://familiesagainstrestraintandseclusion.blogspot.com/


Ann Gaydos

I am so glad this legislation is being revived! Thank you for this post!

My daughter and I went to Washington D.C. in May, 2009, to describe my daughter's abuse and neglect within Cupertino Union School District to the congressional committee that originally framed this legislation.

I sincerely hope that the new legislation, if passed, will be enforceable and will not be neutralized by the usual issues involved in prosecuting public entities, viz. their unshakeable (and well founded) belief that they have access to unlimited public funds to spend on legal fees. Many of them appear to believe that they're untouchable because they think they can outspend and exhaust any potential plaintiff.

Our case was very clear. Several laws had been violated, there were clear damages to our child and to several other children, there had been a four year history of clamorous complaints about this particular teacher from parents and staff, my many letters to the school board and superintendent were ignored (with one exception -- one board member advised me to sue,) a teacher's aide who made frequent complaints and eventually tipped off a couple of parents was subjected to severe on-the-job harassment and eventually forced to resign, etc., etc. Pre-trial, we offered to settle for only our legal fees up to that point if some changes were made to keep students safe, but this plan was obviously very threatening to the more culpable administrators within the district.

Cupertino Union School District perpetuated the same slovenly, dishonest, and malicious patterns of behavior -- behaviors that had caused widespread child abuse -- at the trial. They stretched out what should have been a three-day trial into a three-week ordeal that wasted everybody's time. They were quite ruthless and unscrupulous in attempting to misrepresent the situation and to lie about the children they had hurt. Their story about how my daughter was hurt changed on the fly as each "latest edition" was easily disproved. None of the many stories they told accounted for the nature or location of my daughter's injuries.

The final story, after several other tortuous and contradictory versions had been refuted, was completely different from the previous 10 or 11 (didn't they think the jury might notice?). This one (perhaps the 11th or 12th version) was that my daughter had injured herself running into a window when I came to collect her (they had to find a way to place me there to get around the lack of any reporting whatsoever.) A severely mentally ill parent (Colleen N.) from the classroom was brought in at the 11th hour to "corroborate" this and to claim she, the teacher, and I had all seen it happen. In spite of the fact that both the teacher and I had made clear in deposition who was present when I collected my daughter, and neither of us mentioned Colleen N., she was suddenly injected into the incident. Colleen's paranoia had obviously been manipulated, and she and the teacher had been encouraged to work out a coordinated version. Fortunately, there was some, ahem, discussion about the "office security video" (I had collected my daughter from the office the day she was hurt) in Colleen N.'s presence shortly before she was due to testify. Now I don't know if such a video existed, but thankfully neither did Colleen. At that point, Colleen looked very furtive. I wondered at the time if she was genuinely delusional, in which case she would probably have placed herself in the classroom with the teacher watching events unfold as the teacher had just testified, or whether she would knowingly lie. As it happened, she knowingly lied. She had to flat out contradict the teacher's testimony that they stood together and watched my daughter run into a window. She had to claim that she was "in the hallway or another room" (not really an option in that particular setting) -- somewhere where she would not have been in the "video." She was also unable to answer simple questions for fear of what the "video" would actually show. When asked if my daughter had cried when she supposedly ran into a window, she had to resort to yelling "Real tears or crocodile tears! Real tears or crocodile tears!" because, not having been there, she simply did not know what had happened that afternoon. And then, ooops, she claimed she had come in to the office after the school day had ended and spent some time chatting to the principal. Now the principal had previously testified that she had not seen Colleen at all that afternoon and had applied an ice pack to my daughter's head much earlier in the day -- before I picked up my daughter. Thankfully the jurors were very offended by Colleen and dismissed her as crazy and malicious. They were in vociferous agreement that the district's key witnesses had flat our lied on the stand.

Other lies included claiming that all intervention reports had been faithfully completed and filed. In fact, there were NO intervention reports. The principal herself said in deposition that she had never received or filed one. By the trial, however, everyone -- including the principal -- was claiming that intervention reports were all filed according to the law, which requires that they be filed at the district, county, and state level. Well, they were not to be found at any of those places. The district's lame claim was they had all, um, "got lost."

Parents who sue to protect children and whistle blowers who have the courage to speak out should never have to endure the malice and dishonesty that was spewed our way by an increasingly desperate group of administrators. It should not be this easy for lawyers like Mark E. Davis of San Jose, who defended the Cupertino Union School District, to drag out a lost cause for as long as he did and to profit from doing so, especially when his efforts were directed toward endangering children. It should not have been possible for the district's witnesses and it's lawyer to lie so very blatantly and obviously without any sort of consequence.

I hope the new legislation not only creates new laws but ensures that they are enforced. School administrators, witnesses who perjure themselves, and school district lawyers who shamelessly and dishonestly leech off the public dime while working toward hurting children, all need to be held accountable.

Our children deserve to be safe while at school. Kudos to anyone supporting this legislation and this cause.

Sincerely,

Ann Gaydos

Workplace Accident

Students are the backbone of our society. Their safety is very important, so this act will definitely play a very crucial part in their safety and well being. Thanks for sharing this information.

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