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[TW: CHILD ABUSE] 8 year old girl w Down Syndrome duct taped at school

9:17 pm - 02/06/2013
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana family is demanding answers after their 8-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome, came home from school with her feet duct taped.

Nate Searcy said his daughter, Shaylyn, returned from Westlake Elementary School on Monday with duct tape wrapped around both of her feet.

The bus assistant pointed it out to him when he went to get his daughter off the bus Monday afternoon.

"I'm like, 'Shaylyn, come on,' and she just kind of stood there, kind of limping a little bit," Nate Searcy said. "And I'm like, 'What's wrong?' And she's like, 'My feet hurt.' I look down and she had duct tape wrapped around both shoes, both ankles, and she couldn't even walk."

Nate said he turned to the bus driver for answers, and what she told him was even more disturbing.

"They had the tape on her feet so tight she couldn't even walk," he said. "They had to push her out with a wheelchair on to the bus."

Searcy said he and his wife, Elizabeth, went straight to the Wayne Township school to get answers.

"I had to carry her off the bus, carry her to the car," Nate Searcy said. "We went back to the school and told the principal what was going on. It took her 30 minutes to get the tape off."

Nate Searcy said the duct tape was so tight that it was cutting off Shaylyn's circulation, and the child had bruises left on her feet and ankles.

Even after the meeting with the principal, the Searcys say they still don't know who put the duct tape on their daughter.

"I just don't know what they'd need duct tape in a handicapped room for," Elizabeth Searcy said.

The Searcys admit their daughter can be a handful at times, throwing temper tantrums, but they said the school has always turned to them in the past.

"They've called me before because she won't get her shoes on or she won't stand up and walk to the bus and had fits," Elizabeth Searcy said. "And I've talked to her on the phone with the teacher, and she's got up and she's got on that bus. I don't know why today was any different."

"I'm home before they get home from school," she continued. "There's no reason why I couldn't go get her, if it was such an issue."

But it was different, and the parents said they're worried about the effect on their daughter.

"It's not only physical abuse to her, but it's mental abuse because now she's going to think every time she does something wrong, this is what they're going to do to her," Nate Searcy said.

The school's policy says restraint may be used in an emergency situation if there's physical risk of harm to the student or others.

Shaylyn's parents admit their daughter will sometimes refuse to keep her shoes on, but her dad says that's no excuse for duct taping them so tightly that the girl was in too much pain to walk.

"The assistant principal said the same thing, that that was not procedure and he did not agree with it," Nate Searcy said. "He took pictures himself."

Searcy said he expects to see some action for what happened to his daughter.

"The teacher that did this and whoever else was involved shouldn't be working in a school, let alone a special needs program," Nate Searcy said. "They need to do something. Some of these kids, like her, they can't really speak for themselves."

A school spokesperson told 9 On Your Side Scripps sister station RTV6 they won't make any decision about possible disciplinary actions until their investigation is complete. Shaylyn's parents have a meeting with Child Protective Services investigators Wednesday. They're working with the director of the special needs program at Westlake to arrange to transfer their daughter back to her previous school.

Wayne Township Schools issued the following statement:

"We have had the opportunity to meet with the parents of the student involved in this reported incident and have begun our own investigation. We have notified the Indiana Department of Child Services of the incident, and if warranted, we will file a report with the agency. We have also involved our own law enforcement officers in the investigation. When the investigation into this incident is concluded, we will take appropriate action."

source here

"if warranted", my ass. man up to the fact that you have a fucking abuser on your staff and turn them in! i'm so SICK of schools trying to play the denial game when teachers abuse students.
glamoursnipe 7th-Feb-2013 11:51 am (UTC)
Yet another example of why my fiance' and I have no plans to breed in the anytime ever.

(Rage broke my brain--I'm lucky I can articulate this much.)
encircleme 7th-Feb-2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
what? how is your desire to have children and what happened to this girl related at all?

also, gj making this about you.
abiding 7th-Feb-2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
...so how do your personal preferences about having a family work into this?
glamoursnipe 8th-Feb-2013 12:43 pm (UTC)
JESUS FUCK, you pair, excuse me for drawing breath!

One mustn't forget how conducive the internet is to hostility, rudeness, and knee-jerk character judgments based on a single ill-composed sentence. Once you're hidden behind the screen, waiting for the whole story or asking nicely for an explanation becomes optional; much more fun to just hop on your high horse and go for the jugular. Very nice.

I meant that every time I read an article like this, I remember that this is one of the main reasons I'm remaining childfree. I couldn't take it if my child were involved in something like this, either as the victim or a perpetrator. And I seem to recall mentioning that was the only thing I could articulate at the moment out of sheer anger, so even I recognised it as oversimplifying.

Moving away from what a terrible, self-centred person I am (yes, let's).

There's been a wave of disgusting attacks on special-needs children lately, and the question it all begs is, what is so glitched about society--inadequate funding/ facilities, fear of the Diversity Monster, hierarchial attitudes toward learning and development--that creates this environment? What factors have merged in just the right proportions to make us so goddamn mean to and impatient with each other? Seems more and more like antagonism is humanity's default setting, and that sucks out loud.

Of course, whoever came at this girl with duct tape needs to be rolled in shit and fried in their own slime. But after addressing the individual tree(s), I hope we all take a moment to look at the forest, too.

It's no wonder so many people have mixed feelings about schools in general: you root for what they should be and rage against what they really are a lot of the time. Their potential keeps getting sabotaged by greed, incompetence, apathy, [fill in the blank]. It's enough to give any parent nightmares, even without a personal experience to draw from.

There. Done.

Edited at 2013-02-08 12:47 pm (UTC)
asrana 7th-Feb-2013 11:56 am (UTC)
They have to say "if warranted" because they have to give the impression of impartiality - otherwise whoever pulled this shit could probably sue for unfair dismissal or something and argue that they were looking for a head to roll and s/he didn't get a fair investigation or some such bullshit.

Obviously this is horrific and OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK but with the principal taking photos as well (ensuring evidence for the investigation) it actually sounds like they might actually care that something fucked up was going on.

Either that or I'm just too optimistic.

Whichever way it goes, I'm glad they're transferring the girl back to her old school - I was worried how she'd ever manage to feel safe there again.
paksenarrion2 8th-Feb-2013 02:15 am (UTC)
Dang it, Frank ate my comment.

I completely agree.

They have to be cautious what they say from a legal standpoint.

But the fact that the assistant principal took pictures and turned them over, they are cooperating with the investigation and are also investigating internally makes me think they are taking this extremely seriously.

I get that sometime children get so unruly they need to be restrained for their own safety and the safety of those around them. But that restraint should NEVER include duct tape in any form or fashion.

The person or people responsible for this fuckery need to be fired and brought up on any and all charges possible.
mickeym 7th-Feb-2013 01:34 pm (UTC)
I saw this on my local news this morning, and I still can't do anything other than simmer with impotent rage. I just--can't understand. Why anyone would do that to a child, to ANY child. What is wrong with people? (Rhetorical question, but still.)

Augh. That's as bad as the school that put the autistic boy in a sack, because he was...having a tantrum, I think, but whatever. Jesus.
234_am 7th-Feb-2013 02:26 pm (UTC)
sweet mother of god. i am completely fucking appalled by this story.

this school needs to do something. the physical restraint rules are in place so a qualified teacher (a certified education assistant where i'm from) can put holds on a child with autism having a total meltdown and is a harm to himself, for example. that said, in my experience that happens fairly rarely. everything is used to avoid anything physical.

however, some asshole here is cruel enough to think duct tape is appropriate. this person needs to be fired, yesterday.
mahsox_mahsox 7th-Feb-2013 03:06 pm (UTC)
"I just don't know what they'd need duct tape in a handicapped room for," Elizabeth Searcy said.

I know they sometimes use it in regular childcare for toddlers who like to pull off their fully loaded diapers. A little bit of duct tape over the tabs and a diaper becomes hard for a toddler to remove without help. In developmentally average kids it isn't intended as a long term thing, just to reduce the number of nasty incidents for a few weeks while they progress the kid towards letting the staff know when a diaper needs a change.
girly123 7th-Feb-2013 03:55 pm (UTC)
I know they sometimes use it in regular childcare for toddlers who like to pull off their fully loaded diapers. A little bit of duct tape over the tabs and a diaper becomes hard for a toddler to remove without help.

Not to derail too heavily, but this only begs the question of why they aren't changing the diapers frequently enough for the baby to not want to pull them off in the first place.
mahsox_mahsox 7th-Feb-2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
A reasonably agile kid who has decided that poopy diapers are the worst can poop and be out of that dipe in five seconds flat. The staffing level necessary to insure this never happens would be more than one to one.
girly123 7th-Feb-2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
That's fair! I don't work with diaper-age children like, ever, so I'm definitely more than a little ignorant on that front.
kaelstra 7th-Feb-2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, that poor kid. :(

I call BS that they don't know who did it. There's only going to be so many people who could've done it. Look at people who had access to the girl, look at people who would have had a motive to do this to her, and look for someone who had access to the duct tape.

Just finding the duct tape alone and figuring out where it was last would probably be a huge factor in finding out who did it.

little_rachael 7th-Feb-2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
What the fuck? Duct tape is not a proper restraint. That poor girl....
louisiane_fille 7th-Feb-2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
This left a bad taste in my mouth because my friend has a daughter with Down Syndrome.

After reading the mother's comments about how the school has always called her in the past, it made me wonder if the regular teacher wasn't present that day and that a substitute was in charge of the class. Regardless, to do something like this to a child...I just have no words.
ceilidh 7th-Feb-2013 04:41 pm (UTC)
I would honestly not be surprised if it was a substitute. When I taught in SC, I tried to never be out if I could help it because you never knew who would be in your classroom. You do not have to have a college degree or any training in working with children to be a daily sub in South Carolina. (You have to be a certified teacher in whatever age/grade/subject is appropriate to be a long term sub, like for maternity or other long term leave.) In the district where I worked, subs were contracted through a temp agency and they got a couple days of "training" and then they were on the list. They were paid next to nothing, so really good, dependable, honest people were very hard to come by because they had other jobs.

Where I live now, I believe you have to be a certified teacher to be a sub.
louisiane_fille 7th-Feb-2013 06:51 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean about the subs. When I was in high school in Louisiana, there was one sub who didn't even have a college education. She could barely read or spell, and she never did anything other than make us read the next chapter in our textbooks or work on homework for other classes. I honestly don't know how she became a substitute teacher.
kitanabychoice 7th-Feb-2013 04:46 pm (UTC)
what the fuck man
ultraelectric 7th-Feb-2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
I believe there are a lot of good teachers out there, but I'm tired of reading stories of special needs kids being treated like this. It's not just a one time thing, I bet you anything there is more abuse there. We need to have higher standards when it comes to who's teaching our kids, especially those with disabilities and special needs.

Also, they know who had to do it, they said they wheeled her out in a wheel chair to get her on the bus, so it's not some secret they are just covering their asses.

This poor girl. I hope they get her to a school that is caring and compassionate. And that this other school gets their asses handed to them for this type of behavior.
kishmet 7th-Feb-2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
Dude what the actual fuck. I assumed from the title that this'd be a bullying incident, which would be horrible enough, but these are the adults assigned to take care of this girl. If they don't have enough teachers to supervise that she doesn't take her shoes off while she gets out to the bus (which is obviously untrue because they wheeled her out there so WHAT THE FUCK) then they need to admit that and let the parents take her to another school, not pull this crap
angry_chick 8th-Feb-2013 02:22 am (UTC)
I work with DD adults.

Restraint using objects is NEVER. OKAY. EVER. We take CPI classes for shit like this, and we have to use it as an absolute last resort. She's having difficulty with her shoes? Write the shit in a program and give her positive, praise-filled reinforcement when she doesn't have that difficulty. There are ways to circumvent undesirable behaviors without resorting to restraint, and when restraint is necessary, it should be done by hand and not using objects unless cleared by Human Rights Committees.

I fucking hate people.
betray802 8th-Feb-2013 04:01 am (UTC)
As a Special Ed survivor (diagnosed with ADHD/LD at age 8, which is what happens when you tell the truth once to often) all I can say is, Welcome to my nightmare. Just sitting here off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen different incidents where this would have been me, if the so-called adults who claimed they were in charge thought they'd have a prayer of getting away with it. (My mother was "too involved" in my management for their taste. She was supposed to just hand me off and go on her way.)
alryssa 8th-Feb-2013 05:28 am (UTC)
Fuck everything. *flips all the tables*
wikilobbying 8th-Feb-2013 06:32 am (UTC)
are you fucking kidding me

like her parents said, it's both physical and mental abuse, and that is just so disgusting that anyone did that to her.
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