Into the Disability Underworld. When Schools become Dangerous and Lethal.

Trigger Warning:  This one covers more Torture, Suicide, Death, Rape and more.  See the About page for further warnings.

This is another reason I shared my story, and another reason I consider my experience insignificant compared to today, despite the personal consequences.

The Judge Rotenberg Center(JRC) which I wrote about in a previous post is bad enough,  but thankfully it is just in one state(that I know of).  The use of shocks needs to be banned regardless of whether they now make special allowance for the current victims, who were students prior to September 2011.  Those students are still subject to shock treatment. JRC is one of the most visible examples, with footage available, but it is also only the Tip of the Iceberg.

Unfortunately if you’re disabled whether physically or mentally(which I still prefer to refer to as differences in some cases), the odds are you’re going to face trauma, cruelty, injury, and possibly death if you end up in the wrong school(public or private), institute, treatment center or even group homes.  The danger comes from the hands of teachers and aides, not just children.  Some of the current treatments have even lead to PTSD, Suicide and a direct cause of death.

They have started incorporating some risky techniques in normal schools.  So, even if you’re “high functioning” enough to go, you can still face cruel punishments.  You may also end up a victim of the rape culture.  Like bullying, people with disabilities are targets of opportunity due to their difficulties.

I shared my take on sensory overload because basically, kids with sensory problems are being sent into a place where they will have overload or meltdown and then get punished severely for it unlike any punishment a bully would get for bullying.  Though to be honest, you don’t have to be someone that has a meltdown in order to be treated horribly by teachers, all it takes is a label. This treatment is not limited to Autism.

The following problem I’m discussing in this post is a Nationwide problem of what I consider to be Human Rights violations, with potentially tens of thousands of disabled students getting PTSD or worse. This is another case where teachers and adults that are supposed to be protecting children are treating them as sub-human and abandoning them or worse.   It is unfortunate when the people you’re supposed to trust to care for your children can not be trusted.

It’s pretty clear that schools have failed to protect their students from bullying, given the suicides.  A documentary everyone should see is “Bully“, to help understand the impact and how much loss of life there is, and to realize bullying can affect you your entire life.. That is a lesson a recent well known, well loved loss should be teaching us.  Bullying is a topic I intend to address directly soon, my thoughts on the underlying causes of bullying and cruelty, but I felt I had to address this topic first.

So I’ll mostly be focusing on the use of Restraint and Seclusion.  Various methods of “Therapeutic holds” and the use of Seclusion rooms sometimes in combination.  The holds are dangerous because they make it difficult to breathe, and no education is taking place in the seclusion rooms, in which children can be kept in for hours, in some cases, the entire school day, sometimes forgotten.

To be honest, if I hadn’t been through a form of trauma myself, I doubt I would be paying so much attention or realizing how severe this is.  Because knowing about how it can cause you to hate yourself and see yourself as unworthy of living.  To feel like an outcast.  To frequently question why you should stick around in such a world filled with human cruelty where your life is not valued.  There is good in this world worth fighting for, but all too often it seems the good that has been done is getting erased or replaced.  Sometimes it takes that kind of experience to fully appreciate what others being traumatized could be going through.   Otherwise, you tend to lack imagination.

Once again, like the JRC, these are methods are only supposed to be used as last resorts with parental agreement, however in some cases it is being used regardless for minor reasons and without reporting it to parents or doctors, as if it’s the only tool they have.

For this article I will be posting quite a few links, and putting my notes under them. For those with short attention spans, I recommend reading my notes about each link first, for the entire article, and then picking your way through.  This will be a lot to absorb, I learned about these things more gradually. UPDATE: I’m going to rewrite this post and split it into parts eventually, I don’t feel I’ve done this justice.

 

Let’s get started with some Non-Lethal Examples

First up, I wanted to share a quick update on the JRC.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08/23/cantonnib/SbOisAmZvGS9Ywp0Ij12rL/story.html?event=event25
An employee in the IT department of JRC was recently charged with trading child porn, he did not have access to students but it does reflect on how well they screen employees perhaps?

One of the first things I think everyone should see is this 27 minute documentary put out by http://stophurtingkids.com/the-film/  (where you can find updates on Restraints and Seclusion). Be sure to check out their partners.

Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Our Stories

This is the testimony of 4 victims of Restraint and Seclusion.

They each deserve to be heard but I’ll talk about the one I can probably Identify with the most. Helena, who has Asperger’s.
She was a Grade A student through 7th grade, possessing a photographic memory, doing exceptionally well with history. From the sounds of, doing better than I was in school.
When her family moved, she had to go to a new school. She was receiving detention for minor reasons in the new school.  She managed to embarrass a history teacher by pointing out a historical mistake and proving it, whom called her a “retard”.  On more than one occasion she and other disability students were belittled by the teacher in front of the class, which encouraged them to bully her in doing so.  That they did by smearing food on her head and face.
They seemed to really have it out for her, as the school forced her into a padlocked concrete room in the basement under the gym where no one can hear you scream, for 35 consecutive days.. She would go home in the evening, and fellow students would think she didn’t even come to school.

After a due process hearing, the department of education ordered that she not be put in seclusion again and to contact her attorney or parent if they did so again, which the school was aware of.  One week later the vice-principal wanted to put her in the seclusion room, she reminded him of the orders and turned to proceed back to class, as she was told not to engage or argue.  That’s when he slammed her against the wall and put his arm around her throat and lifted up so she couldn’t breathe.  She truly believed she was going to die and prayed it would be quick, but he let go.  She was dragged out of the school and put into the back of a van and “escorted” her to the superintendent’s office in a different building, who told her she had no future.  Then there was a knock on the door and she blacked out.  Another student had witnessed her being dragged away and called her parents, her stepfather had come to her rescue.
That was her last day of school.  Later that day she attempted suicide, and was diagnosed with PTSD afterward.  For six months she could not set foot outside of her house or socialize.  There’s more to the story in the video, so I encourage hearing all their stories when you have time.

This is one of the reasons I fear the gaps in memory I have.  The adult bully I mentioned in my original post was a male history teacher, and during a meeting with my folks he said he knew “how to handle” me, I don’t have any recollection of interaction with him directly, just of him bullying students and encouraging the class to laugh at them while they cried.  I guess I was lucky they were more clueless about what to do with me back in my day, not sure I would have survived today’s methods.

I could not help but notice this 6 month old update on Youtube about Jino(from an older version of the video), very disheartening and cruel.

Update on Jino Medina: As of this school year 2013-2014, Jino has been returned to Hesperia Unified School District care for his middle school education transition. He has only attended 2 days of school this year. At first, he was placed in a class where there was a isolation room inside, Jino could not cope in the environment and placement was revoked. The only other offer of placement by the district had a similar problem, to find that those involved would continue to be in his presence. He is now facing due process as the district is requesting that he be forced into a school site where the person who oversaw the program of abuse at his Autism Program, is now in charge of the lower functioning program in the middle school. Being that Jino’s literacy skills are K-1, this puts the “person” back in control. Rather than offer a placement where Jino could receive an education without being put into an environment that involves factors of his trauma, the district decided to wait and ignore Jino’s requests for a safe environment leaving him without any education at all until they ultimately had the time to file and ask a judge to force him back into the hands of the abuse. Which will be open and public…stay tuned…

IMHO, People making these decisions don’t seem to have a clue about Abuse, Disability or PTSD.  It seems like health and safety are NOT their primary concern. They’re forcing him back into Hell, I would know.

In 2012 there were 267,000+ incidents of restraint and seclusion(R&S) during the school year.  Over 20 deaths in recent history.  That’s a lot of injury, trauma and living Hell.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/death-school-parents-protest-dangerous-discipline-autistic-disabled/story?id=17702216
2012: 5 Page Article with video that covers JRC footage, as well as interviews with children who have been restrained.  Some of the video also includes examples of students that have moved to schools that do not use restraints regularly and have had success.   Representative George Miller notes his surprise in learning how commonplace this is. The article also introduces some lethal cases I will discuss further down.

There are have been multiple attempts to get National Laws passed to greatly restrict the use of Restraint and Seclusion.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/30/school-seclusion-restraint_n_2219091.html
Covers the ABC coverage, just an alternate source.

http://www.care2.com/causes/bungee-cords-duct-tape-used-to-restrain-autistic-students-in-pa.html
2010:  $5 million dollar settlement in Philly and another reminder that the Laws have not passed yet.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/abuse.school.staff.htm
2014, California: Teacher with history of violence physically and verbally abuses non-verbal students, calling them retards and striking them, restraints, etc. Was complained about and then transferred to ANOTHER special needs school to repeat the offense. End result was an $8 million dollar settlement.  No charges.

http://specialedpost.org/2013/08/25/student-with-adhd-alleges-teacher-taped-her-to-chair/
Student with ADHD “taped” to her chair.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/26/us/kentucky-boy-bag/index.html    http://www.care2.com/causes/kentucky-school-stuffs-autistic-boy-into-a-bag.html
2011, Kentucky: The kid stuffed in the bag.  “Treating students with dignity while providing a safe nurturing learning environment”  “Qualified Professionals”

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2008/10/20/time-out/608/
2008: Girl Wets herself after being kept in seclusion room for 3 hours.

http://www.mercurynews.com/my-town/ci_26594792/suit-claims-antioch-schools-employees-improperly-restrained-5
2014[Recent] Antioch, California:  At  special needs school called Tobinworld II, Lawsuit filed after 7-year-old Autistic Boy is restrained, resulting in bruises, bloody nose, choking on blood from his nose as a result of the restraint method and causing him to wet his pants. Remember, it’s considered “Therapy”.
Food and Restroom denied to students during the day, “They made it look like Disneyland, but behind closed doors it wasn’t.”
Why am I not surprised by the connection to the Judge Rotenberg Center?  One boy thought that he must be broken and deserve to be treated that way… I can relate in some ways.  160 calls to the Police about violence against students, as well as cases involving violent or suicidal students. Before or after being restrained I wonder.  This is a problem with the disability world, when conditions and varying severity all get grouped together in the same box and treated the same, when even a minor label damns you.  Being exposed to others being traumatized badly can also have a major impact.

http://www.additudemag.com/addnews/65/6032.html
Specifically mentioning that it is being used on ADHD and any other Learning Disability.

http://c-hit.org/2014/02/09/restraints-seclusions-target-students-with-autism-new-report-shows/
Statistics on R&S for the State of Connecticut, 33,000 in one year, over 900 cases where it lasted an hour or more. 40% of cases were Autistic students.

I haven’t fully vetted every link, and I always encourage people to think for themselves.  How can many people think about it if few are aware?  Some of the links in this post are also blogs.  I was short on time but wanted to get this published ASAP, feel free to point out errors or shares stories, etc.

As you can see this is pretty severe, there are many lawsuits and settlements, but little in the way of accountability. These methods used to only be found in psychiatric hospitals but have been making their way into public schools for a while now. There have been efforts being made to pass national laws for years, which I will talk about in a little bit.

It gets worse.

 

When Therapy Becomes Lethal

The “prone” restraint in particular is potentially lethal no matter how well-trained the aides are because it restricts breathing.  This section is going to get ugly, won’t be easy to read.

The following take places in schools, treatments centers, groups homes and institutes.  Some links are redundant.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words.

Angie, RIP.

[Deceased] 2006, Wisconsin:  7-year-old Angelika “Angie” Arndt, Diagnosed with ADHD, MD and RAD.  She was killed during a face-down “control hold” in a treatment center.

She was mostly trouble-free and happy.  Her parents just wanted her to be ready to go to first grade in a normal school and sent her to a treatment center to get her “caught up”. It was not intended to be a long-term stay.

Her reason for being restrained that day? She was gargling or blowing bubbles in her milk with a straw and talking to classmates when not allowed to, she disobeyed orders to stop. She was taken to a “cool down” room where she also didn’t sit in the way she was instructed to, and complained of being tired, which was also forbidden during “cool down”.  I understand the psyche medications she was on may have caused drowsiness.

She had been restrained for other minors reasons prior to that and it appeared the treatment was causing her problems she didn’t normally have at home.  There was also a lack of communication between her different doctors about her treatment.
As she resisted instruction, she was placed in face down control hold, and complained of pain in her eyes and ankles, and also complained she felt like she was going to throw up.  She wet her pants and said she was going to defecate. Eventually she seemed to calm down after that, they released her and she stayed on the floor making “cooing sounds”  They then believed she had fallen asleep for 5 minutes, and when she didn’t respond,  turned her over to see her lips had turned blue.

A coordinator arrived and instructed them to call 911.  She didn’t die immediately, she was taken to a hospital in full cardiac arrest, she was on life support for a day, but the lack of oxygen had already caused brain death. She had previously been a victim of sexual abuse prior to coming to this “treatment center” specializing in behavioral modification.

Autopsy revealed she died from chest compression asphyxia, and that she had hemorrhages of the pancreas, colon, stomach, and duodenum from abdominal trauma from the hold. There were also several bruises on her head and knees. The Medical Examiner ruled Angie’s death a homicide because the restraint impaired her ability to breath.  In many other cases it tends to be ruled an “accident”.

For some reason reading the specifics of her case especially sickened me.. I stopped reading cases in detail after this one.. I apologize in advance.  You’re welcome to explore and discover more about the others.  There are quite a few celebrities with ADHD , I wonder if they were ever treated this way.  From what I can tell, this girl had a shot at a normal life and few behavioral labels/issues ended that chance.  The notion that she had likely been restrained during her previous trauma…… I’m speechless.

That treatment center was shut down after her death.  From the looks of it, Wisconsin has major restrictions of Restraint and Seclusion now, but many states have none or have loop holes.

Further reading on Angie’s case:
http://www.childrenintherapy.org/victims/arndt.html
http://facesofangelsblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/angelika-angie-arndt.html
http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2008/12/why_angie_died/
http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=17798
http://www.disabilityrightswi.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/seclusion-and-restraint-paper.pdf

The PDF is the most detailed account of events I could find.

 

 

Corey, RIP.

[Deceased] 2012, New York:  16-year-old Corey Foster  killed by “cardiac arrest during excited state while being subdued.”  In Special needs school, He had refused to stop playing basketball and so called “de-escalation tactics” failed.

The horrible irony of this is that playing Basketball IS therapeutic when you want to lose some steam, as is swimming and other physical activities. I imagine he knew exactly what he needed to do to cool down, and they ended up killing him for it.   Personally in my case,  I knew instinctively when I needed to get away or cool down even before I could communicate it.

Further reading on Corey’s case:
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Yonkers-School-Teen-Restraint-Death-Parents-News-Conference-Corey-Foster-149575325.html
http://www.lohud.com/article/20120524/NEWS02/305240084/Corey-Foster-death-Lawyer-claims-Yonkers-cop-harassed-witness
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/death-16-year-old-leake-amp-watts-school-troubled-youth-ruled-accident-article-1.1112063

Continuing.

Faith, RIP.

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/01/faith_finley_died_after_being.html
[Death] Article Date 2009:  17 Year old Faith choked to death on vomit during prone restraint while on meds that weaken the gag reflex.

RIP, Jonathan.

http://tcfpbis.blogspot.com/2010/06/video-jonathan-carey-story-killing-of.html
[Death]2007.  Jonathan died at age 13.  Another horrible story of abuse and restraint death. The “school” withheld information from parents and denied visitation rights, leading to a new Law in New York state after his death as well as several subsequent laws due to how the “school” covered things up.  There is a video memorial telling his story.

In this New York Times article covering Jonathan, they note that complaints and whistle-blowers were ignored, mysterious fractures and lacerations were not investigated.  Also noting that employees in some cases were bragging on their facebook pages that they were “beating retards” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/06/nyregion/boys-death-highlights-crisis-in-homes-for-disabled.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://mn.gov/mnddc/news/inclusion-daily/2004/01/010204miedabuserenner.htm
[Death] 2003, Michigan: 15-year-old autistic boy dies on first day of school after being restrained.

http://farsnewsarticles.blogspot.com/2008/07/boy-suffocated-during-school-punishment.html
[Death]Montreal: Perhaps not unlike Jino’s case, who was also wrapped in “therapy” blanket, only this time it was fatal.

http://www.ct.gov/oca/cwp/view.asp?a=1301&q=255144
[Death]1998, Connecticut.  Asphyxia from restraint in an institute.

http://www.uoguelph.ca/oaar/jobin-inquest.html
[Death]1998, Ontario:14-year-old Stephanie killed in group home.  Cause: Asphyxia from restraint.

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-05-07/local/me-3635_1_teacher
[Death]1986: Obviously it’s been going on for years, and almost always is an “approved” technique.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/child-myths/200905/death-goes-school
[Deaths] 2009: Boy diagnosed with PTSD restrained until death, 4-year-old girl with cerebral palsy restrained.  2009 GAO Report in PDF

http://tcfpbis.blogspot.com/2009/05/pa-is-license-to-teach-also-license-to.html
Is a license to teach also a license to kill?  Another tragic story. Withholding food and restraint death, being hit with a shovel by an adult…..

http://web.archive.org/web/20040614024311/http://www.copaa.net/newstand/death_data.html
An old database recording 142 Restraint related deaths between 1988 and 1998.

http://broadreachtraining.com/advocacy/lcorneli.htm
[Death]1 of the 6 deaths at JRC/BRI.  “Tortured” because her attempts to communicate were considered “target behavior”, food was withheld, she basically starved to death, by “accident”.  Before the Aversive shocks they were already using restraint, withholding food, forcing students to inhale ammonia, etc.  Remind me why JRC had to relocate from California and Rhode Island to Massachusetts to stay in operation?

http://tcfpbis.blogspot.com/search/label/Restraint%20Death
Another blog highlighting many cases, including Deaths.

http://tcfpbis.blogspot.com/2008/09/state-by-state-listing-of-locations.html
Outdated. List of 336 Schools in 36 States that have used Restraint and what Ages the students were over the years. Over 20 deaths reported, not all from Restraint. 4 Cases of Rape.

http://www.childrenintherapy.org/victims/victims.html
More “Therapy” victims both living and dead.

http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/701801.pdf
Paper on the lethality of “Prone” restraints.  Important.

These restraints are traumatic, not therapeutic at all..  Having someone sit or lay on top of you? Does that remind you of any other kinds of assault?

I could have just filled this post so many links.. I did not provide fair and equal coverage to all these cases.. I do apologize again. I found it difficult to continue.  This is rather disturbing to research and learn about after all.  My condolences to all these families, I just want to see these nightmares end.  Needless deaths.  At least some of it is taxpayer-funded.

Advocates are pushing for alternative positive treatments and even offering training, there is still a push to get those national Laws passed.  There are is also a problem with disability students ending up in jail, I’ll cover that for a little while to give you a break(ok, not much of a break) before going on to other nightmares.

 

The Alternatives, The Laws and the School-To-Prison Pipeline

 

First, want to find out what your State’s Law is on the use of Restraint and Seclusion?

http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/mapping-state-policies-on-student-restraint
2014: Map showing stats on State laws limiting restraint/seclusion, if at all.

Among others, TASH and APRAIS are pushing for alternative treatments and doing everything they can within the system.  We don’t have to have a One Size Fits All system.

http://tash.org/advocacy-issues/coalitions-partnerships/aprais/positive-alternatives/
Positive alternatives to Restraint, Seclusion and Aversive.

Even Yoga is showing some promise:  http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/10/15/yoga-improve-autism/16647/

http://tash.org/blog/2014/10/22/developing-congressional-champions-progressive-disability-policy/
They’re making great efforts, doing everything right, they just need more visibility, as do these issues.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/school-discipline-alternatives-_n_1669559.html
Coverage on alternatives.

http://tash.org/blog/2014/08/12/tash-letter-department-educations-office-civil-rights/
TASH reports that African American and Hispanic Students are also being affected by Restraint and Seclusion.

http://tash.org/blog/2014/07/18/take-action-call-senators-today-urge-passage-crpd/
Is the United States really that far behind the rest of the World in disability rights? I wouldn’t know.  Certainly not some parts of the world.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/81049867.html
Stimulus Dollars were going to be used to build seclusion rooms?

Personally, to be honest I’m not entirely against voluntary unlocked seclusion where the student is free to go to and leave.  Don’t see why you need to build a room just for that.   Aside from using an empty classroom during the lunch hour, I also used to go to a room with a school counselor that was nice and quiet, a table and some chairs, a card game to play.  Nothing was forced on me, no restraints.  It was a great relief.   That was before they decided to “warehouse” me.
If there were people trained by disability advocates in schools that were there to be nurturing I might find it acceptable.  People that are advocates themselves and not just someone that’s “doing their job”, not there to use restraint, but with the ability to call someone in if it’s truly one of those dire last resort situations.  Or if the gym isn’t being used and the student can wind down by shooting some hoops, why not? (assuming they can with their disability)

Continuing, looking at more reports and stats.

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/06/20/schools-underreporting-restraint/19457/
2014: Schools are underreporting the use of Restraint and Seclusion?

http://www.katu.com/news/investigators/Mom-unaware-autistic-child-put-in-seclusion-room-202650001.html
Oregon already has some restrictive laws, and yet the school was not reporting the use of seclusion.

http://www.npr.org/2014/06/19/322915388/national-data-confirms-cases-of-restraint-and-seclusion-in-public-schools
Restraint and Seclusion used 267,000 times in one year..  A lot of distrust being created at the very least.

http://specialedpost.org/2014/03/02/the-keeping-all-students-safe-act-would-eliminate-seclusion-in-public-schools/
While 40% targeted are Autistic, the method is being used on Black and Latino students now as well.

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/10/21/feds-schools-bullying/19775/
Feds remind schools of their obligation to protect students from bullying. Good luck with that.

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/10/31/lawmakers-self-advocates/19807/
Everything About Us Without Us.  Lawmakers remind feds to listen to Self Advocacy groups.

http://articles.mcall.com/1999-03-26/news/3232922_1_mental-health-physical-restraints-restrictions-on-health-care
Old 1999 Article, helping give you an idea how long even Politicians have been trying.

Some links about the School-To-Prison Pipeline.   While not a new problem, it does need to be looked at more closely.  It seems Massachusetts made efforts to improve on this, but I don’t know if they really succeeded.

http://tash.org/blog/2013/07/30/mass-dems-pass-resolution-on-restraint-seclusion/
2013: Mass passes resolution on restraint/seclusion.  ACLU indicates that Boston, Worcester, and Springfield were using Restraint and Seclusion, Calling police in circumstances you would normally be sent to the principal for or sent to detention. Referring to it as the “Arrest in School” and the “School to Prison Pipeline.”  Affecting Disability students as well as Black and Latino students.

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/10/29/for-sped-leads-jail/19800/
More of the “School To Prison Pipeline” for people with disabilities.  70% of people in Prison have a disability, and may have been in there since childhood? Even Dyslexia? Another testament to the inflexible nature of the One Size Fits All system, as well as the use of brute force to try to conform students to that system perhaps?

http://www.ndrn.org/en/component/content/article/24-hompagestories/487-lets-get-real-on-school-safety.html
The trouble with more School Resource Officers(SROs), part of the “School To Prison Pipeline” perhaps?

Here is the current status of the National Laws on Restraint and Seclusion (I’m primarily covering the United States if you didn’t already figure that out).  I sincerely hope that site is inaccurate when it comes to predicting the chances.  I found an old version that passed the House and then stalled/died.
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr1893
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s2036

The nature of therapy is healing.  This is something else.

“Rather than an enlightened and compassionate mental health system attending to needs of our young, we have a dangerous and coercive system that stands impassive not only in the face of repeated failures but, unbelievably, of child deaths due to treatment.”
-Citizens Commission on Human Rights International

I remember some controversy over schools seeking authority to spank kids hard enough to leave bruises, which I thought was terrible.. They had me fooled.

Hopefully this is enough to get the point across that there is a big problem, whether death is the result or not.

Another problem that has come with the rising Bully Culture is the Rape culture..  Yeah, I’m the type of guy that looks at those statistics too and then wonders what the heck is going on. So many that seem to go unreported or unpunished.  Not fun to learn about, that’s up next.

 

Beyond Bullying, The Rape Culture.

 

Supposedly, the percentage of Rapes have gone down, however percentage scales with population increase, has it really changed?  Or is it an illusion?  Many cases simply are not reported, not believed or dismissed for other reasons.

Like Bullying, people with disabilities are more likely to be targeted. This is another reason the inaction in schools when it comes to bullying is so important, only worse.

Links coming up.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/07/health/autistic-kids-bullied-time/index.html
Studies show what I’ve already stated before, that Autistic kids are prime targets of bullying.  This sadly also includes the Rape Culture, which I consider to be an escalation of the Bully Culture.  Starting to share the same view as Creese in the comment section, which I’d rather not.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/12/justice/maryland-teens-assault-autistic-boy/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
2014, Maryland: Two Teenage Girls forced an Autistic boy to perform various sexual acts, including with animals at knife point on multiple occasions, which they recorded on their cell phones. They also forced him to walk on partially frozen ponds, where he fell through the ice and managed to get out on his own each time.  Statistically female bullies are on the rise, and this is a horrific example, if you can still call it bullying.

http://time.com/23280/police-teenage-girls-forced-autistic-boy-to-perform-sex-acts/
Alternate report on the above incident.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/students-charged-in-autistic-girls-rape-10212551
2010, Florida: 3 YOUNG Boys charged with raping Asperger’s Girl IN SCHOOL.  Indeed, where do kids that age learn this?

http://www.kctv5.com/story/25158462/southwest-high-personnel-on-leave-after-autistic-girl-repeatedly-raped
2014, Missouri: A 14-year-old girl is raped IN SCHOOL on a daily basis right before her math class by an older boy and a girl serving as look out.  If the comments are true, then it sounds like an out of control school.

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/22411864/autistic-teen-says-she-was-raped-at-north-atlanta-high-school
2013, Georgia: 17-year-old Autistic girl Alleges she was raped in school bathroom by 15-year-old boy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqL9nRLRKBk
2013, Hawaii: Deaf and Blind Children raped in special school? $5 million Settlement.

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/parents-allege-9-year-old-autistic-son-raped-school
2014, Texas: 9-year-old autistic boy raped in school restroom by adult.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/dgreenfield/saudi-foreign-exchange-student-in-virginia-caught-fleeing-country-after-raping-autistic-17-year-old/
2014: Saudi Foreign Exchange Student Caught Fleeing Country after Raping 17-year-old girl in her house.  Mother may have been involved with the rapist, allegations that she helped the rapist flee.

http://www.care2.com/causes/autistic-girl-raped-after-deboarding-school-bus.html
2011, Tennessee: 14-year-old girl raped by adult after de-boarding school-bus AT school.  School failed to notify parents of the girl’s absence from school on 3 separate occasions? No one noticed?

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Man-sentenced-for-repeated-rape-of-autistic-girl-5744608.php
2014, Texas: 14-year-old Autistic girl raped about a dozen times by an Adult visiting Texas. The assailant is facing deportation after his 14 year sentence.

http://www.childrenintherapy.org/victims/swenson.html
1990, Colorado:  age 13: A “therapy” center.  complaints of rape ignored, leading to suicide.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/11/opinion/perry-rape-disabled-georgia/index.html
2014, Georgia:  An adult woman with down syndrome is raped, however a judge overturned a jury’s conviction against the rapist because the woman did not “behave” like a victim in the judge’s opinion.  The idea that you must behave a certain way in order to be considered a victim or because the judge believes you didn’t fight back correctly is preposterous.  This is a problem that isn’t isolated to disability, but certainly emphasizes a lack of understanding of people with disabilities.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/raped-sixty-times-hospital-mental-3016375
UK: Adult Woman Raped 60 times by staff over a year, psychiatric hospital referred to as a “playground for predators.”

http://www.autistichoya.com/2012/10/sexism-ableism-and-rape-culture.html
Lydia Brown’s article on Rape Culture..  More stories to learn about.  If you don’t “properly” act like a victim you must be crazy? Blame the victim…  I highly suggest reading this.

Obviously rape is a big problem for everyone all over the world, but unfortunately people with disabilities and delayed development are more likely to be targeted..  Where are the values?  Where are the ethics? Where is the protection? Where is the accountability?  Why is Justice blind?

 

A few thoughts about Education before Closing

 

To me, this is a Human rights issue.  A national disgrace.  It’s almost unimaginable that these rights seem to be absent for the disabled.

There’s a long history of deaths from these methods being used in mental institutes, so why are they being brought to public and special needs schools?  It’s not illegal for them to use them on normal students as far as I know.

The health and safety of students needs to be put first and it seems like it’s not.

Is Behavioral science really focused so narrowly that it excludes knowledge of Trauma, PTSD and Healing?  Not teaching people to recognize and know their own behaviors and use self-control or adaptation, but trying to condition it out of them with fear and pain?

We’re going to beat you over the head with a Wooden Club that fixes everything, One Size Fits All? Wielded by cavemen throughout the ages.  Perhaps I should call it the Club of Conformity?  Kind of like Jayne Cobb’s Chain of Command? (pop culture reference)

These abuses are mostly taking place in educational and supportive environments.  What is the primary goal of education?  Can it really be determined by a magic number that says everyone is ready for a social and educational environment at the same age? Does everyone mature at exactly the same rate and become imbued with wisdom and common sense at a specific age? Does everyone have the same stress threshold?  The same attention span?  Is everyone going to respond in the same way?  Is everyone not unique?  You don’t have to be considered disabled to struggle in school.

All that matters about education is gaining knowledge and skills that will benefit and empower you and hopefully society as an Adult.  Yet this is where the system is inflexible, There is a lack of adaptation.

In the case of disabilities, kids do need to be able cool down on their own.  There are different sensory and stress thresholds that lead to overload and you can’t treat stress overload as intentional willful misbehavior.  Kids may learn to improve and manage their tolerance levels, but you can’t force it with restraints and seclusion.
Either teachers or the students themselves need to learn to recognize when they’ve reached the boiling point and either offer a break to cool down or ask to take a break.    Yes, this makes education less efficient , but is far better than traumatizing students.   Becoming self-sufficient and successful is a hard thing to do if the result of your education/treatment is that you distrust everyone, have PTSD, have suicidal thoughts or have low self-esteem.  Because again, these are teachers and people who you are supposed to trust that are doing this to you.

How is having trust issues going to help later in life?

The classroom environment isn’t the only option anymore.  Social Skills can be developed in different ways now too.
I do have a few ideas for alternative education methods and assistive tools for home schooling/homework.

If a student can not handle the entire school day but does well in certain classes, so be it. The rest can come in time, perhaps not the same time as everyone else.  If the student is doing fine at home but having meltdowns at school, then it’s the wrong environment.  This is a digital technological age, there are many alternatives available now and many existing or upcoming technologies that could be turned into alternative education tools.  For example..  Khan Academy + Siri, Wireless Streaming.   Perhaps even VR, which can make you feel like you’re somewhere else(which I have personally tested).   I will make a post about education ideas and observations eventually.

I also wonder what would have happened to Helen Keller if she had not been taught by another person with a familiar disability?  What would have happened if she ended up in one of these places?  She was stubborn and could be violent after all.

I didn’t even cover the deaths related to police encounters, where even sign language can be interpreted as hostile.  Nor the many filicides and even exorcism.  Search and Ye shall find.

 

Stigmatization and Closing Thoughts

 

Even if Laws are passed nationally,Who’s supposed to protect some of the most vulnerable people there are from bad teachers getting into the system? Teachers are supposed to be protecting students, but who protects students from teachers?

There are people in this world that gain sadistic pleasure from torturing and killing animals, it seems they have found humans to do that to in the form of the disabled.  It’s an invisible minority that is often kept out of the public eye, therefore it’s out of sight and out of mind.  Predators can look for work at special needs schools, simply because the witnesses there are far less likely to be believed or heard.

The stigmatization will also remain,  how do you overcome that when you have teachers calling their students retards and treating them as outcasts?  How do you overcome dehumanization and demonization like that?

Now we need all kinds of Laws to ensure Humane treatment and ethics, in both schools and the medical industry. Not even the Oath to do no harm is sacred enough anymore?(more on that in the future)

Some parents argue that their kids won’t be able to learn if they’re in the same class as someone with behavioral issues, or possibly harmed.  Because one student could disrupt the whole class. Seems like a good opportunity to learn patience and compassion. I say the same is true of bullying behavior, which can drive others to suicide.  Bullies are harmful intentionally and gain pleasure from it, where as someone with a behavioral problem DOES NOT do it intentionally.  Especially when seizures are involved.

The Bully Culture is simply not exclusive to children. If Bullying is just “Kids being kids” , Then what is an adult that refers to their students as “retards” and abuses them?  It’s not just kids, it’s an increasing cultural problem, at least IMHO.

There’s the stigma that people with disabilities such as Autism are going to cause a “tsunami” of healthcare costs, which is why they like to call it an epidemic.  But I believe the truth is these Behavioral methods cause trauma that will last a lifetime, it’s seems clear they’re being used on students with mild conditions, not just as a last resort on the most dire conditions.  Therefore yes, many that are capable of becoming self-sufficient may instead end up dependent on aid because of trauma and injury.  There’s also all the settlements that will be paid because of the fatal “accidents” , injury and severe psychological trauma.  Not to mention the pipeline-to-prison aspect is rather costly and could perhaps be avoided if we adapted better.

Maybe then you also wouldn’t have to worry about funding for training people to use these “Therapies” if it weren’t used excessively to begin with as the default treatment to all behaviors.  It seems like whoever is coming up with these treatments is specializing in brute force behavioral modification, not in trauma healing nor in identifying problems and finding ways to work with and nurture the ability of the individual.

I learned of JRC in 2012, but that wasn’t the only thing that happened that year.

The Sandyhook shooting also happened that year.  I felt as sick and horrified as anyone else.  I cried as I listened to parents of victims and saw the photos.

But then most of the Main Stream Media ran with the story that Autism was to blame for the shooting, advocates reacted quickly but it took several days for the Media to put out the correction that no, Autism does not cause something as terrible as that.  Sadly premeditated crime is not an exclusive trait to any group or label.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/21/opinion/plank-autism-newtown/index.html
Talking about that very subject.  It’s worth reading this link and some of the sub-links.  FYI I’m not active in those Autism forums or communities, but I do check in sometimes.  Just doesn’t bring me comfort. I remember coming to the feeling that I was born on the Wrong Planet as well before learning a forum and book existed called Wrong Planet.  Can’t say I was surprised.

I became aware of hate group and fear of autistic children in their communities. I couldn’t verify if the stories were all real at the time, but maybe I’ll go back and look for official reports later.  A report of a Facebook group that promised to find an Autistic child and burn “it” alive when they reached 50 likes, which Facebook took down promptly.  A report of a neighborhood fearing a 4-year-old autistic boy who lived there.  Kind of made me glad I had moved around so much that people didn’t know me where I lived.

That’s the Power of the media for you.  As a result, the stigma is worse, to what degree I do not know.  Does make me more cautious though, it’s a big part of the reason I didn’t start this blog sooner.  Not knowing if some perfectly nice person is going to react with fear because of stigmatization, fearing the worst case scenario.

I never imagined I’d see pitchforks waved in my general direction before, suddenly I found myself relating to Edward Scissorhands(minus the romance).

The Stigmatization seems impossible to overcome as long as it is apparently legal to torture and sometimes kill the disabled without consequences.  Also considering the struggles of other minorities.

http://www.autistichoya.com/2014/09/the-empty-room.html
The Empty Room. An example of how invisible the disabled are.  Not just the lack interests or the lack of services, but also the lack of awareness of the horrors.

I find it disheartening to see how long these organizations, advocacy groups and individuals have been fighting while I was buried(psychologically speaking) for all those years.  I feel lost and directionless, except for speaking on this and struggling to spread awareness..

The Mission Is What Matters.

All of these issues need more public awareness IMHO. I’ve already mentioned I have little Faith in the system to hold itself accountable, I have more Faith in the voices of people.

To paraphrase someone, when the good majority are silent, they are irrelevant.  When a minority of haters speak louder, they influence future norms.

I’m just one lone invisible outcast, there are too many groups to support at once individually.  Need more people to become aware of what all these groups are standing for.

I suspect I understand other reasons why there is opposition to putting limits on these restraints.  Which I believe to be misunderstanding and ignorance.   We find so many reasons to be intolerant to difference and fail to see how much alike we are. Bill Clinton recently made a wonderful statement about identity politics, I will likely reference that in the future.

“I believe that in ways large and small, peaceful and sometimes violent, that the biggest threat to the future of our children and grandchildren is the poison of identity politics that preaches that our differences are far more important than our common humanity.”  -Bill Clinton

So, Can you see why I’m paranoid about using freedom of speech?  Why I’d rather not plaster photos all over social media?

In my experience there are two kinds of doctors, those that see you as a human, and those that see you as a statistic or a disease.

I’ve gotten angry, I’ve cried while learning about all of this.. Right now I just don’t even have the energy to get angry anymore..

Are you seeing the patterns emerging, when you look at the rest of the cultural problems?

I had planned to do an article on Bullying next, as it is a much broader cultural problem we have, but I felt it was important to focus on more nightmares beyond bullying first.

I just want to find peace.

-Chris “Stargazer”

“Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.” -Mark Twain

Can we come back from this?

Can we come back from this? This is how I feel today. Superman is dead.  Lack of awareness, inaction and the silence of bystanders is costing lives.

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2 responses to “Into the Disability Underworld. When Schools become Dangerous and Lethal.

  1. I realize I paint a rather grim picture. It’s important to realize in these accidental killings, these were people using approved techniques, following protocol. It’s not as if their intent was to kill. (Though in some cases it sounds like they weren’t trying very hard not to.)

    That in itself is also going to be deeply traumatic.

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  2. Very well put together. There are so many stories here all with references. More needs to be done to oversee the overseers. It is a serious problem of any origination to allow, be complacent to, or even encourage abuse of it’s students/patients/whoever. No organization should do such, and all organizations should be open to hearing those that go there and take reports and signs of all abuse seriously. Also no organization should use abuse as a way to treatment, that is sick logic, alternative methods though they seem a bit more difficult are work better in the long run, and are better for the student/patient/other.

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