That’s what my high school friend Sandra saw when she entered into her son’s school last week. You may have read or heard about it. It’s been on our local news, but it is also gaining national coverage through sources such as Yahoo News ,MSNBC.com and NYDailyNews.com
Her son is autistic and Sandra was called to pick him up for misbehaving. When she arrived, she found him tied up inside a large drawstring bag intended for gym balls. She demanded that he be let out, which of course he was. Immediately. She was told this was not the first time her son was placed inside the bag and set out in the hallway of his intermediate school.
The superintendent’s official public response is that it is unlawful for him to issue an official public statement either confirming or denying the allegations, but that they are complying with the ensuing investigation and that the school district strives to treat all students with respect and provide the best education possible.
If I were not home schooling, this would be the district in which Beauty attended elementary school. He is only one year older than she.
With the help of some wonderful people at change.org, she has begun a petition to the board of education to request changes in their policies in the disciplining of special needs children and to request that all staff involved with the special education department be properly trained in autism awareness.
Honestly people, if someone were to enter your home and found you had tied your child up in a bag like the one pictured above, they’d be pulled from your home so quickly your head would spin. As they should. What is not appropriate discipline at home should not be allowed at school. Isn’t that not only common decency, but common sense as well?
I’ve been told that some of these kids need restraining so they don’t hurt themselves or others. No one is saying they should be allowed to go all Kung-Fu on the classroom, but appropriate forms of discipline need to be enforced. Being tied up inside a bag is not an appropriate form of discipline. I understand that sometimes physical restraint is necessary, but again…to be tied up inside a bag? They are not the spoils from a rabbit hunt.
Special needs children are not animals. They are human beings created by God, in the image of God and deserve the same respect as anyone else. Furthermore, they deserve our protection for they so often cannot defend themselves nor even verbally ask for help.
If you would like to read and /or sign the petition please click here.
I am very proud of Sandra for taking a stand and trying to change her world and that of her son and children like him.