Thursday, August 27, 2009

Follow-up (Corporal) Punishment: Are Children with Disabilities Disproportionatley Arrested at School?

Los Angeles Police DepartmentImage via Wikipedia

We recently ran a post on a study that shows that kids with disabilities are disproportionately singled out for corporal punishment. As a follow-up, another recent study claims that standards should be developed because research shows that children with disabilities are arrested at school by in-house police officers at a disproportionate rate. The study by the ACLU may be found here. A blog item discussing the study may be read here.

This makes me wonder what the heck is going on out there. The imagery of excessive physical punishment and of excessive criminalizing of children with disabilities is quite disturbing.

I think that most of us will likely agree that these days and in these times police officers presence in the school building is necessary. There have been too many outrageous tragedies to suggest otherwise. But maybe some standard training for school-based police concerning children with disabilities is a good idea. Have any of you had any experiences concerning this issue?


  1. My son was subjected to excessive restraint and seclusion in kindergarten and first grade (23 documented incidents of restraint in first grade; more seclusions that were not documented during his first grade year). At the end of his first grade year he weighed 55 pounds soaking wet, so they never called the police on him, because they were able to wrestle him into submission. From what I hear, they did call the police on a 100+ pound fourth grader in his substantially separate classroom, and I gather my son witnessed some of it.

    When people with no training or supervision are given no resources to educate a mish-mash of disabled kids with significant needs and then are asked to simply warehouse kids who are being stressed to the limit by school's demands, behavior happens.

    People with no training or supervision are likely to respond ineptly, and they get desperate. They run out of ideas and start locking kids in closets, calling the cops and, where it's considered culturally acceptable, straight-out beating them. It's not that hard to see how it happens, but maybe that's because I've had a front-row seat (not to the beating part, thank god, though my son did come home with bruises from restraints). This is a systemic issue, and it goes straight back to a lack of provision of appropriate educational services provided by highly-qualified personnel. If there was strong enforcement of IDEA, and if school systems took their responsibilities under IDEA seriously (because they were held to the law), I honestly believe these abuses would decrease substantially. That goes back to hearing officers, among others.

  2. Thanks Mamacate,

    We appreciate hearing about your experience.


  3. Hello

    I think there must be special schools for special children so that they can get their education accordingly and create environment according to them so that they could develop their capabilities and also give them training for their growth.


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  4. I know that children's in schools sometimes become so violent.

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