Friday, December 23, 2011

SIGN PETITION: End abuse of Autistic students in Mercer County, Kentucky | Change.org

Human Rights Petition: End abuse of Autistic students in Mercer County, Kentucky | Change.org

Why This Is Important

In Mercer County, Kentucky, nine year old Chris Baker, an Autistic student, was told by his special education aide to climb inside a gym ball bag for punishment to "control his autistic behavior" in mid-December 2011. He was placed in the bag with the drawstring tightened and left in the hallway in the school. When his mother, Sandra Baker, was called to the school to get her son, she demanded that he be removed from the bag right away. The teacher struggled to undo the drawstring, and Chris emerged sweaty and non-communicative. According to the teacher, this had been done several times over the last year, but Sandra didn't know until this latest incident. While she met with state officials on Monday 19 December 2011 before a possible meeting with school officials, there is no guarantee that those meetings will prevent this kind of abuse from happening again -- either to Chris or to other students.

If you think it's wrong to tell an Autistic child to climb inside a bag intended for gym balls and tighten it with a drawstring, which could potentially have led to serious injury or death, as punishment, then please sign this petition. This is wrong. This is abuse. It needs to stop.

We hereby affirm that

1.) Physical, mechanical, and chemical restraint or seclusion of Autistic students and students with other disabilities is abuse except in brief, temporary, and emergency interventions when there is imminent and immediate threat of harm to self or others, and that are carefully and completely documented and reviewed with a full debriefing including the student and parent(s) or guardian(s) afterward;

2.) All special education teachers ought to receive extensive education and training in appropriate interactions with and educational methods for Autistic students and students with other disabilities both before starting work with these students and throughout the duration of their careers in order to promote the best possible outcomes for all students;

3.) All non-special education teachers ought to receive at least basic awareness education and training in recognizing autism and other disabilities, particularly invisible disabilities, which can include intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as appropriate interactions with Autistic students and students with other disabilities either before beginning work as teachers or as continuing education credits in order to promote the best possible outcomes for all students;

4.) It is in the best interests of all educators, educational administrators, parents, and Autistic students and students with other disabilities to ensure the safety and well-being of all students, including Autistic students and students with other disabilities, and that a safe environment means one in which a student is free of fear of any kind of restraint or seclusion or punishment-based treatment rather than respectful, individualized education; and

5.) Appropriate continuing education professional training on interactions with Autistic students and students with other disabilities ought to include appropriate de-escalation and crisis intervention techniques that recognize significant differences in processing and communication in Autistic students and students with other disabilities, in order to prevent the use of restraints of any kind or seclusion on Autistic students and students with other disabilities.

And in accordance with our affirmations, we demand that the following actions be taken or started before the end of December 2012, with all due speed:

1.) That the teacher(s) responsible for placing Christopher Baker in a gym ball bag be dismissed from position for abusing a vulnerable person (a person with a disability) OR be required to successfully complete extensive continuing education professional training in interacting with and educating Autistic students and students with other disabilities, not to be fewer than at least the equivalent of a semester-long graduate level course developed using existing standards and best practices in model state systems, and which shall specifically include techniques for appropriate de-escalation and crisis intervention;

2.) That all current and future special education teachers in Mercer County be required to successfully complete extensive continuing education professional training in interacting with and educating Autistic students and students with other disabilities, not to be fewer than at least the equivalent of a semester-long graduate level course developed using existing standards and best practices in model state systems, and which shall specifically include techniques for appropriate de-escalation and crisis intervention;

3.) That all current and future non-special education teachers in Mercer County be required to successfully complete basic continuing education professional training in interacting with and educating Autistic students and students with other disabilities, not to be fewer than at least eight classroom hours of instruction developed using existing standards and best practices in model state systems; and

4.) That use of any type of restraint or seclusion on any student be explicitly prohibited except in brief, temporary, and emergency interventions when there is imminent and immediate threat of harm to self or others, that are carefully and completely documented and reviewed with a full debriefing including the student and parent(s) or guardian(s) afterward.

SIGN PETITION HERE




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