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  #1  
Old 01-29-2013, 09:01 PM
OKC Husband OKC Husband is offline
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Oklahoma City
? about an abusive Special Ed student

Hello all.
First let me say a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to each and every one of you. Being an educator is not always an easy or rewarding career choice.
I am going to try to leave some details out so the school and student remain anonymous.
My wife is a Speech Pathologist in an Oklahoma Public School. She has a student who at the drop of a hat can turn violent and will start hitting his/herself or his/her teachers. Usually the outcome is just bruise, but the last time he/she did this he/she broke my wife’s finger. For the last 6 months or so of school my wife has been dreading going to work and wondering if she is going to get hit again today.
Each time this happens they have to complete an incident report to document everything.
I am frustrated beyond belief with the lack of help her administration has provided. So far they have suggested that she not see the student alone, sit on the other side of the table, or use a visual chart so the student knows what is expected of them when she is seeing them. These are all good suggestions but none of them help when the student chases after her to hit her.
She tells me that there is nothing that can be done about it. The student is entitled to a public education and that she just has to accept that she will be hit.
I ask her at what point is this considered assault and when will the administration stop it? She says that they won’t and in today’s litigious society the school will always take the students side.
Have any of you faced a similar situation? Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2013, 09:40 PM
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bella84 bella84 is offline
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Midwest
Second Grade
She's right that nothing can be done about it... unless the IEP team determines that the student's placement is not appropriate for him. He is entitled to a free and APPROPRIATE public education. It's possible that his placement at that school, in that setting, is not the best place for him. He may need a more specialized setting in which to receive his instruction.

However, moving students to more specialized settings often comes at a higher cost to school districts, who have to foot the bill. Many schools avoid sending students to other settings because the money isn't there pay for it. That's not right (or legal), but it happens a lot. The best way to fight it is for the parents to get a lawyer involved, if they truly feel that the school district is keeping their child is in the wrong placement.

I wouldn't recommend that your wife fight too hard against the school's decision, assuming that she wants to be on the administration's good side. If she's willing to give that up, then she should, by all means, fight for what she believes is right.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:01 PM
MissCeliaB MissCeliaB is offline
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Louisiana
I would press charges against the student for assault. Your wife should have some rights. I have worked in special populations, and often ended up with bruises, but broken bones is too far.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:35 AM
bros bros is online now
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The student needs to have a FBA and BIP done immediately to determine the cause of the lashing out.

Your wife and other staff members should be trained in restraint methods and have it written into the IEP if the team agrees.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:14 AM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is offline
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bros, have pity on OKC Husband, please, and spell out "FBA" and "BIP".
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  #6  
Old 01-30-2013, 04:18 AM
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swansong1 swansong1 is offline
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Is your wife part of a union? There may be protections for her written into the contract. There are many school districts that have safeguards for teachers and other personnel to refuse to work with a violent child.

I am curious to know what the school's response was to your wife's serious injury(other than to just tell her to deal with it!)?

You both may need to do some serious thinking about your wife keeping that job. It is never right for anyone to have to accept violence at the workplace.

Please keep us posted.
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  #7  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:12 AM
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mopar mopar is offline
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I would start by having your wife bring these situations up to her union rep (if she has one). It sounds like she has documentation (or at least some that she can get ahold of).

How long has your wife been a speech pathologist at this school/district? Has she received any kind of continuing contract that will help her keep her job if she fights this?

It's a hard situation to be in and I'm sure she doesn't want to rock the boat, but the only way to change this is to document and keep talking about this student with other professionals at her school.
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  #8  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:14 AM
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mopar mopar is offline
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Kindergarten Teacher
FBA: Functional behavior assessment. Basically a special education team assesses this student's behaviors by observing and collecting some data. They try to figure out his/her motivation for hurting him/herself or others.

BIP: Behavior Intervention Plan. This is a plan that it put in place based on what was determined from the FBA. It spells out the student's motivations, triggers, the behavior, and the consequences that can be used.
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  #9  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:47 AM
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bella84 bella84 is offline
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When I wrote my response, I was under the assumption that an FBA and BIP were probably already in place. If not, then, yes, have her encourage the team to do that. I would be surprised though if those things have not already been completed at this point.

We had a kindergarten student at our building from August through December this year. She threw her feces at staff. She stomped on a para's foot and broke it. The para needed surgery. Worker's comp covered it, of course, but that didn't lessen the pain or hassle for the para who had to deal with it. All the while, this girl had an FBA conducted, and a BIP in place. The BIP allowed for therapeutic restraint and use of the seclusion room. Staff was trained in proper restraint techniques. None of that stopped the student's behavior or prevented staff from being injured. Staff had to trade on and off of working with this student, as it was very emotionally draining. Finally, she was transitioned to another placement within the district. It's still not the most appropriate placement for her, but it is a step in the right direction. The most appropriate placement would not be cost-effective for the district.

Talking to the union could help, if all of the right plans are not already in place. If they are, however, then it may just be considered part of the job, unfortunately.
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2013, 08:01 AM
OKC Husband OKC Husband is offline
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Oklahoma City
Thank you all for your responses.
They do have a BIP. The BIP states that when the student is violent that they can call his/her parents to come pick him/her up. They have done this a few times and now it seems that the students parents are always unavailable when the school calls. So, the student stays at school.
I asked my wife last night what was too far, when could something else be done? She said that only if/when another student is hurt can they really make a change. So far this hasn't happened.
My wife has been in the school system 3 years and loves her job other than this one student. You are right, she doesn't want to rock the boat, but she will have this student for a few more years.
In her school they can not isolate or restrain a Special Ed student in any way.
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