America Special Education System a 'Living Hell'?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MacEffects, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. MacEffects macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2005
    I was reading this article in a News Paper, and there was some horrible information about kids in Special Education.

    November 30th, 2005; 17 year old student at a local High School Special Education Student was taken out of school for 38 School Days for throwing a Fart Bag (Its like a Stink Bomb w/o glass) at a group of people in the parking lot after school. The student who did this had only one disability Server Anxiety Disorder. And he did this to people that have been bullying him, as the school never took care of the other students. The School System also was in violation of IDEA (The Individuals with disabilities education improvement Act) in many things... Okay this was not the bad part...

    The Student had this to say to his High School


    I feel that I am being abused because of my disability. I’d like to tell you a short history of my academic career so that you know my true position and why I feel this way.… I was in the fifth grade while under the jurisdiction of the Community School Corp. And based on your misdiagnoses (based on studies and tests you have done about me) you placed me in a different school. At that school (Kingsford Heights Elementary) there were times I had extremely high Anxiety, and being that I was so young I did not know what it was. Nor did I know how to express this to anyone. And during such times I became hyper because I was having an Anxiety attack. But, instead of getting the help or treatment I needed, I was locked in a padded closet while a teacher with a metal hip sat on me to “Control me”, so in all reality while I was suffering horribly I had to suffer far more because of your misdiagnosis. This is all still very vivid in my memory. Also within a year from then (while I was still misdiagnosed by the Community School Corp) another special ed student for no reason came up behind me and slammed me into a locker (this was premeditated t00), I then had a broken nose and had to have surgery, and I had a cast on my nose for a long time. I was not able to be in school for more then 5 months because of that incident, and missed many important classes. I now know I should have never been placed in an emotionally handicap class, even the teachers in that class agreed. Also I would feel that in such a class no student should have been left unattended to allow such horrible things to happen, this would be called neglect on the teachers’ part. Thus, later that year they had removed me (after a meeting) and placed me in a LD class, but unfortunately it was too late to prevent such horrible things. I also because of being there did not learn what I needed to, as it was a different level then what I needed to learn. I should have never been placed in such classes. I had to go though more pains by being in these classes, both mentally (corruption) and physically. I’d like to also mention an issue of abuse. I was walking out of my gym class during passing period while I was there the person who is in charge of the Physical education department came from behind me and shook my backpack repeatedly in a violent manner and said “This is what we did to nerds when I was in High School” (he was telling this to other students that he was talking with before approaching me). During the whole incident he was laughing as if it was funny… I found this very offensive. This is just some instances of such things.

    I remember that the teacher I had at Kingsford Heights did little to help students, and it would seem to me that her job was to belittle, and abuse students. I have told people in charge about these things that happen to me, with little resolution, and this is the main reason why I do not tell on the day-to-day bulling since nothing gets done about the really server abuse. Luckily most of the incidents were documented by the school. Plus if I bring it to the attention to the bully, then they would treat me far worse (for telling on them).

    I was also sexually abused by another Special Ed Student in the hall, this was documented and saw by other people, and she did receive a suspension. However this year, I was placed (by another mistake of yours) in another class with her where she refused to stop talking to me in class, and then later kept calling me and going to my place of business. My IEP does not say that I need any help with Geography, but yet I was placed there in the class with her. All this was simply because of the negligence of the school corporations special education department, to notice my disability correct for what it really was. And, I feel that anything that could have gone wrong with my educational career - did. Being that school is every young persons life, I feel as if my life has been messed up because people neglecting to help me in school correctly. At this point I am still trying to figure what we can do, as I am already behind my peer group, and I’d like not to fall even further behind because of pointless delays. I am behind in different subjects based on the state provided benchmarks.

    There should have been supervision during the sexual harassment issue and also when I get beat into the locker. As you can see these are just some reasons why I don’t like (and don’t feel comfortable and safe) being in school. And why sometimes when I have Anxiety Attacks I cannot stay in a school environment.

    Now, I must add that there are many instances of other students bullying me, this is minor compared to the other things that have happened to me. However the day-to-day name-calling, teasing, and other things like that it all just makes the situation far worse. I don’t think that other special education and even normal students have such horrific ordeals. Nor would I ever thing someone so young should ever have to go though this. Please if I am wrong about this, correct me.

    I feel I have not being provided with the correct free appropriated public education I should have had. I suffer from Anxiety and that is the only reason that I have a little trouble with learning, as it can be hard for me sometimes to focus. And I should never suffer more because of this. And, I have also been segregated in one way or another, from my peers. Also, I have had a teacher say, “Can you read… I can send you down to the special education office for help if you need it” this was stated in front of the class. I find this not right, I do not like to be segregated and assumed that I am dumb because the teacher thinks of my disability as something its simply not. This besides the fact he had me in his class before, and knew what I was capable of.

    Also, another teacher said to me (he was originally discussing class related homework) to trash my unopened bottle of water in front of the class and sad “Dan You should know better then that”, and right at that moment he open his can of soda and took only one sip as if to publicly rub It in my face that he could do something I could not, for the remainder of the 40 minutes he never again even touched his drink. I feel sometimes teachers often do such things as they think I don’t understand what they are doing (this my be subliminal in there minds) but I believe this to be the case. These are only some examples of the things I have to go though - since I don’t have time to share them all, I will leave it at that…


    Now, I have a 10 year old who was just this year placed in a Special Education Class, as it seems many other children are being placed there too. Now my concern is can this/should this happen to my 10 year old, it is in the SAME School Corporation as the student above. And HOW IN THE WORLD can schools Lock Children in Small Padded Closets and Such... HOW??? :confused:

    Also, is this a normal thing to have happened in the Special Education System?

    This may be affecting me different then everyone else, but I really want to take action, this story has greatly affected me, its horrible... What can I/should I be doing? Keep in mind it is the same School System, and I do know the family who was involved with this... It is just wrong!
  2. thedude110 macrumors 68020


    Jun 13, 2005
    Um, so, no. No, no and no. Teachers locking students in padded rooms and teachers sitting on students is not normal.

    At the high school where I teach we face a more mundane and wide spread problem -- special ed. teacher burnout. It's a tough job, especially for the teachers who are working with kids who are severely emotionally disturbed. To be short, no one deals with more suicides and more buerocracy than special ed. teachers. All the teachers want to focus on is the kid in front of them, but their responsibilities in terms of documentation and red tape -- well, you wouldn't believe. Worse, special ed. teachers face tremendous district pressure because they're perceived as being responsible for a "drag" on district test scores (you also wouldn't believe how often special ed. teachers get scapegoated in faculty meetings about just that subject). And when asked to team teach with a special ed. teacher, many faculty treat that special ed. teacher as an inferior. All this leads to feelings of frustration, exhaustion -- then change of profession.

    I'm interested that this is happening in a corporate public school. I remember reading articles in grad. school about how many corporate school entities prefer discipline to TLC, but what this student describes obviously seems over the top. I wouldn't be surprised if the kid is exaggerating, but at the same time I've learned that you should never not listen when a kid is talking to you. Take what you will from that.

    I'd say you need to confront the school about the article and get their side of the story. If this school is really treating kids in this way, you can make it stop if you make yourself heard. I'd also make it a point to talk to your daughter/son's special ed. teacher specifically. Ask them about their philosophy of teaching and learning, and ask them how they handle issues of misbehavior. A disciplinarian will stress the importance of discipline (duh), a TLC type will say "I ask the student why they're acting they way they're acting."

    I hope that the discipline-first members of the audience realize that I recognize that it's a long leap from being a disciplinarian to sitting on/locking up your students ...

    I'd also like to say that special ed. teachers are among the most compassionate and dedicated members of the teaching profession. They are also almost universally the most overlooked and taken for granted teachers.
  3. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2005
    Special education is vastly underfunded, for one thing. I'm not sure about practices -- the ones in that article are extreme and not the norm -- but I think about 1% of school funding goes towards "Special Education." This does not only include classes with kids with disabilities, but also Gifted and Advanced Placement classes. It's like those who could benefit most from funding get kicked in the shins every time.
  4. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    It's not just special ed. Like me, I have Asperger's. I didn't go to special ed- I went to the advanced classes, because despite having impaired social skills (hard time with, for example, body language, talking too much) I was tied for the top math student in the school and was really good with academic stuff.

    Let me tell you, elementary school was vicious. The kids relentlessly pick on anyone who is even slightly different, and then if you try to defend yourself in the slightested when they get caught they start up an act and get the victim in trouble.

    Junior High/Middle School was equally bad as a student with a disability, but I rarely went outside at lunch and just stayed in the cafeteria so I avoided a lot...

    9th and 10th grade I did through alternative school, much better, and I did part of 11th grade at regular school, but just the nerd classes (Cisco Networking and AP Calculus, with fellow nerds ;) ) and got along well, and halfway through I was taking most of my classes at college anyway. By 12th grade I was doing everything in college and college students are (for the most part) more mature about that kind of stuff.

    And there is really no effort made. The schools in my area did absolutely NOTHING about it other than this stupid no tolerance policy- if something happens, both the victim and the bully get punished. Stunningly stupid. My mother quite literally had to bring in a lawyer for students with disabilities to threaten them before they did anything, back in the 5th grade.

    Elementary school kids are vicious and cruel, and are very good at getting away with it.

    I imagine it is even harder for someone who has to take special ed classes, because the kids view that as a "pick on me" label and the adults would assume wrongly about you. :(

    I don't know about teachers treating students like that- I haven't had any kind of experience like a teacher locking me in a padded room- but the students are absolutely vicious to special ed students and even advance placement students with disabilities.
  5. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    This is one of the issues of the NCLBA. Test scores are everything.

    20+ years ago I worked as a substitute teacher in "regular" and "mainstream" schools. The issue is not with the children, but with parents that will not address the issues of their "aggressive" child that are considered "normal". We have now raised the level of "achievement" to such point that any one that is different is a "drag" on that.

    Even more so is that we become a nation of the "haves and the have nots", "under" performing kids are viewed by other parents as a drain on their "net worth" and the future value of their children's "net worth".

    We have become a nation not a cumulative net worth of the society we live in, but one of how many more McMansions and big SUV's we can bring this nation.
  6. Jovian9 macrumors 68000


    Feb 19, 2003
    Planet Zebes
    I have been in this field for the past 6 years and it is definitely stressful field. I have all the patience in the world....never get close to being upset, but after 6 years I have left the field (my wife and I are in the process of moving too). I've worked in the schools and in group homes, family homes, camps, and homes of the clients who have their own apartments. The one thing I have learned is that the older the person is who is working in this field (teaching, directing camp, etc.), the less valuable they are to the kids/young adults. I'm sure this is not the case with everyone, but this is what I have seen day-after-day for years to the point where I was in an office the last year or so because I felt I was not as valuable to these kids as I was when I was 21-22 years old. The constant thing that I have noticed is that the young adults working with these kids (while they are still in college) or the teachers who just got out of college really are the most optimistic and do a great job. I was awesome with these kids 4,5,6 years ago, but I think age and experience really put a gap b/t those who are trying to help and those who need some assistance with normal day-to-day activities. I believe too many teachers are not given the opportunity to really work one-on-one with some of these children and therefore never get the time to learn how to teach that child and communicate with that child. Usually the schools will put anyone with experience in the field in the special ed classroom and call it a day. I would suggest that you spend a day-or-two in the classroom (if possible) with your child so that the teacher and/or teachers assistants can observe someone who is an expert at communicating/teaching/relating to your child. Everytime I have worked with a new client it has helped tremendously to have someone there to help me that first day.........and each time I have not had someone to help it has taken quite awhile for me to learn how to work with that particular child...which really is not beneficial for either the child or the teacher. In my experience, the parents that are the most involved and the most pro-active in this field usually get the best results from those working with or assisting their children, and therefore those children get the best education/assistance they can get.
  7. MacEffects thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2005
    Wow, I never known that the Special Education System was so complex.

    I did read that the school system said "Yes, we do have a room completed with wall-to-wall padding, and it is used for children who can not be controlled" then later I read that to make that Legal (The Padded room that is) the room has NO Door, however the student said "The would often put cubical wall like blockers in the entry way, and there was no light in the room... There was a blockade of things blocking me from escape and there would sometimes be a desk or two placed in on the cubical style walls... Keep in my I was suffering the worst at this time!" All I have to say is WTF?!

    I did know the School Special Ed Systems were underfunded, and I know that there are little teachers for the students, but this is NOT ACCEPTABLE and I am amazed something like this can happened right here in the Unties States.

    Also, this kid is really some kid of genius nerd kid who owns a store among other things... And he failed "eighty percent of the classes we have offered him". Now, something does not make any sense here, I mean firstly the emotional trauma that the whole thing must cause to his mind, and I am sure with a Disability like Anxiety they are simply making it worse... And, I don't think that for someone so smart to be failing High School and being abuse, that is not right... The School System acknowledged ALL of the accusations the student made about the abuse. And also said "Oh you came from that school, you should have never been placed in that environment and we are sorry, but you need to forget the past and move on"... Move on how is someone who has been abused suppose to just forget about it?

    The crazy thing is he has been placed in OVER TEN SCHOOLS and in 2 School Corps.

    EH (2 years), LD (1 year), then- EH (1 1/2 years), LD (4 1/2 Years), EH (Just placed in there) it sounds like the School System does not know what they are talking about... No the kid said it was in the EH classes he had the most abuse and that was the 'environment he should have never been placed in' and we wonder why he objected in such a hugh manner... I think the school system is VERY luck, I mean its kids like that who are capable of things like the horrible Columbine Shooting... But it sounds to me this kid is to smart for something like that... And I'd like to help them out since the family goes to my Church, and I just don't think any of this is right...

    Another thing, the kid his freshmen year (first one) he made a website about the High School, and how horrible it was, and he was suspend for that... So I can not conceive of what he must be thinking... Yes - the dumb Zero Tolerance Policy NEEDS to be changed!

    There is to much lets just get him to pass these tests, and move on - going on... This is NOT where my Tax Dollars ought to be going to. What about that No Child Left Behind Act :confused:

    I do know I WILL be contacting the Family to see what they are doing, and how I can help directly. And, I'll be sure to let you all know what I find out.

    I don't mean to sound so aggressive but I just can't understand how this can happen in my small city, its too close to home (And I would not think it would have any thing with the 'Have and Have Not's' Since it is a small town...

    What can I do to help, Protest or something?????

    Being that from what you guys are saying I think this is an isolated situation, and the Special Education System in the US is not like this... Because if it was there'd be some big problems in the Department of Education.
  8. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
  9. mintlivedotcom macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2004
    After teaching special education (all areas) for 5 years, I declared myself "burnt out". There was an opening for a music/drama/speech/computer teacher (the "fun" classes), so I jumped at the opportunity.

    I agree that the ones fresh out of teacher college are the best ones equipped to handle these kids.
  10. thedude110 macrumors 68020


    Jun 13, 2005
    You wouldn't believe. I'm not yet tenured (English teacher) and the majority of my students are special ed, not attending or "too cool for school" (urban district). And do you know how I'm being measured? I'm being measured by test scores. So, if my kids don't perform well enough on a battery of tests (or don't show up for the tests -- which, since they have so many family responsibilities, there's a damn good chance of), I'm a bad teacher and my job is at risk.

    What no one wants to talk about is the following: I have kids who come into my class at 18 who can't spell. Literally can't spell. I would say 5% of my seniors are functionally illiterate. And yet somehow, in one year, I'm supposed to make these students perform at the level of the "average" student?

    What really fries me is there's no test that measures what they've learned in my class. There's no test that shows how hard I'm working with each of these kids. There's no test that says "look at how much better this kid's writing is than it was in September." All there is is a test that says "Your students do not perform as well as the average student." Like I (and they, unfortunately) don't know that already.

    It blows my mind that I'm held accountable for 18 year olds who can't spell, when I, in the one year I have with them, am trying my hardest to make sure they can spell.

  11. adroit macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2005
    Victoria, BC
  12. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I have a USA friend who's Deaf, and he was placed in a class for mentally retarded people in NYC from about 11-14 years old.

    He's one of the best writers I know Deaf or hearing, and completed a degree in English at RIT (Rochester), and has just finished a MSc at Bristol Uni in the UK (one of the UK's best universities - a MSc from there is same as a PhD in the USA.)

    Deaf education can be really ****ed. (both in the USA and here in the UK.) Many deaf schools believe in banning the kids from signing to each other, and teaching them using teachers who have no knowlege of sign at all.

    The result is the deaf kids don't understand a bloody word the teachers say and leave school at 16 with an average educational achievement equivlant to an 11 year old.

    I was placed in a special unit with other deaf kids, and most of them were labelled as having behavourial difficulties. Today, I look back and realise no, it was communication issues, as the staff (the ones who were paid to work full time with Deaf kids) didn't want to learn sign, so of course the kids couldn't understand them, and then got labelled as problem kids.

    I remember recieving psychological assessments from edu psychs who couldnt sign either. That's a serious breach of professional ethics, a psychologist claiming they can assess a child or teenager, when in actual fact they know nothing of the child/ teenager's language.

    Today, I have a Deaf daughter, age 1, and she already has a larger sign vocabulary than I did when I was 5. She already goes to signing playgroup, and there is an excellent signing primary school nearby.

    I'm nervous about secondary school (age 12-16) as at the moment there is no secondary school in the UK that can offer teaching in sign.


    .. RedTomato ..
  13. MacEffects thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2005
    Its in Northern Indiana...

    The teachers in our Special ED department have been teachers for many years and most are well over 40 - some almost 60... This might also be a cause.
  14. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

    Mar 19, 2004
    A series of tubes

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