Meet S.R from Kenton County Kentucky, he struggles with disabilities and emotional distress. He’s still learning what it means to manage his frustration, excitement, energy, and all the things all the other 8 year olds are learning too, except he has some extra challenges like Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder that make it a little harder for him. On this day in 2014, he was having trouble responding to commands from his teacher and wouldn’t stay in the Isolation Room. So the teacher called the armed law enforcement officer who remains on campus to restrain him. What you will see below is a helpless child whimpering in pain and struggling to comprehend his punishment for 15 minutes.
In this video S.R. is restrained with Adult Handcuffs, he already suffers from a history of trauma that is being exploited and poked:
When did it become acceptable to employ or deploy police officers in public schools and utilize force against small children who weigh less than 70 lbs? The sad part is that this is not an anomaly, Kentucky is not an exception it is the accepted norm: this is not acceptable. The ACLU is currently prosecuting the Kenton County School District for using handcuffs on children, documenting as many cases as they can find and perhaps creating a deterrence already; however, there is a much larger issue that is becoming more and more apparent and it lies in our mistreatment of disabled children that leads to further injustice down the line in adulthood.
Did you know that Disabled students represent 12% of our Public School Student Body? Did you know that of that Student Body: 75% of those students subjected to physical restraint are Disabled? That’s almost all. These statistics are reported from the U.S Department of Education which concerns me even more. The body one might think would do something to prevent or control such a thing is tracking and documenting these acts of crime, only to stare such a travesty in the eye, knowing exactly what it is doing.
The Department of Education and the School Districts do know what they are doing. Just outside of San Francisco in 2014 Preschool students with developmental challenges preventing them from being able to speak or communicate their abuse:
In this case the Brentwood Union School District ignored multiple reports of abuse, ignored reports from school psychiatrists, from teaching aids, from parents, told parents not to report, and placed the teacher in the care of Autistic children when she didn’t even hold the credentials. The teacher’s name was Holder:
So when we see numbers like 75% of the student body that is physically restrained that means slapped, pinched, punched, kicked, pulled from their chairs, yanked by their hair, dragged across the gym, handcuffed, put in the closet, what else?
Sometimes it’s clearcut and at those times the law can jump in and take action like in this case: but I’m most concerned about the times that slip through the cracks, normalized over and over.
The issue still remains: these children are traumatized from the moment they enter the school systems or any system that has been created to impose domination over them. All the children who have been made to suffer, all the disabled children in these cases showed behavioral changes during their time in school. But, being the parent of a disabled child isn’t easy either especially if your child can’t communicate with you. It wasn’t until there were visible signs of abuse that parents were able to mount a case and the truth came out, and yet school districts knowingly place children the way of harm because there is a societal opinion of disabled people that is one of less than, one that brings out the worst in others.
When the people who need the best teachers, the best care, the most love and attention are met with handcuffs and abuse, when they are constantly borated with hate they believe they are to be hated. They cannot believe that they are anything but what people in power are telling them, they cannot see what we see, they only know the abuse and hate that then leads them directly into the systems of oppression that have been built to keep them out of sight and out of mind. I am reminded of Jamie Lee Wallace, an Intellectually Disabled 24 year old (who also had ADHD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia), who later became severely mentally Ill, shot and killed his mother, then committed suicide in jail. In that story, his family doesn’t even hate him they blame the prison system and felt his only choice was either to die or go to jail: instead he died in jail. I’m sure that the system failed him long before then.
If your child were told from preschool on that they were nothing do you believe they would walk with their head held high? If your child were intimidated and forced using anger to do things they didn’t want to, do you think they would start to use anger and force to accomplish their own goals? I am so deeply saddened and angered that I must speak out. These are the reasons why #Trump and #Inauguration2017 matter so much, because with his appointees and their views we will need to stay united and continue to standup for what is right. What do you think Trump’s next Head of Education (Betsy Devos) will think about armed law enforcement officers in schools?
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