I wrote a post in July about a state investigation of abusive treatment of autistic students in Florida schools. Those with knowledge of such mistreatment were urged to contact a state hotline to tell their stories. Now, more incidents of abuse are coming to light. As alleged in a recently filed lawsuit, a 7-year-old autistic student, Isaiah Moore, was hit and choked by a behavior analyst at a school in the St. Lucie County School District (the same district in which teacher Wendy Portillo became infamous for telling her kindergarten students to vote an autistic child out of class).
According to an article in a local newspaper, the child's mother, Anna Moore, and her attorney said that the lawsuit isn’t about money, but about making sure a similar incident doesn’t happen to another child.
Moore said it would be easier for her to walk away from the incident, since Isaiah is happy at his new school.
“This needs to stop. It’s not just my son. If people keep walking away, it’s never going to stop,” she said.
She urges parents and others who are aware of abuse in Florida schools to get involved in efforts to change the law to protect students with disabilities. More information about the struggle to end abuse in Florida schools can be found at the Florida Families Against Restraint and Seclusion website.
Mistreatment of children with disabilities unfortunately is a major problem in American schools in general. The Florida group mentioned above is affiliated with a Yahoo group that maintains a blog, Families Against Restraint and Seclusion, which addresses the issue from a national perspective.