Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Right situation for special-needs kids

Paul Takahashi’s article, “Special-needs student’s classroom outbursts led classmate’s parents to seek restraining order,” detailed the fact that if a special-needs child cannot function in a regular classroom setting without verbally and physically abusing other students or teachers, they do not belong there.

Battery against another person is a crime no matter how you look at it.

No child should be afraid to go to school because they are being injured by someone. When children are subject to seeing a classmate and their teacher threatened and harmed, it directly impacts their learning.

The people behind the movement to judge teachers by the testing scores of their students have no idea what tremendous forces are working against learning in classrooms such as this one all across our nation.

The CCSD has a remarkable department geared to providing the best educational setting for special-needs students. They have the capability to do so.

We need to let them do that without requiring them to provide inclusion in cases such as this. Special-needs children and their families face so many obstacles in life.

Let us make the right decision so that they will never be faced with the circumstances wherein their child uses their fists or a pair of scissors and seriously injures another.

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  1. The hardcopy paper has it right! Good article too by the letter writer.

    Carmine D

  2. It is all about WHO makes the final decision. The writer, Terri Robertson, does understand that safety in the learning environment is a critical factor. However, it is not as simple as, "Let us make the right decision so that they will never be faced with the circumstances wherein their child uses their fists or a pair of scissors and seriously injures another."

    There is a complex chain of command a complaint goes through: whether the teacher decides HOW to handle an issue, if so, then it passes to those who service the IEP in Special Ed/Resource, then to the Administrator. Usually, the Administrator in charge, will take to the party, possibly bring in the parent(s) of the perpetraitor, and may, 1-discuss behaviors with the parties and no consequence involved, or 2-discuss with the parties involved and either A) suspend or B)give a consequence as having to sit in the Office during breaks.

    An unintended consequence is further empowering the acting out individual by undermining the classroom teacher's authority and need for a peaceful, safe, learning environment. Then the teacher and class faces copycat behaviors within the class because of decisions from the top. Usually the cycle continues (sometimes for years, with this mishaving student digressing, eventually dropping out of school. The statistics rarely, if ever, references this.

    What is missing in our schools is mental health access to services. A professional in this field would quickly assess such psychotic episodes and determine a treatment plan that would be monitored and adjusted as needed. The majority of violent students in our schools need mental health services, but their parent(s) neglect to address it. The parent themselves often require mental health services themselves, and lack rational presence of mind in their decision-making. In some cases, the parent/guardian is not giving the child their prescribed medication, which makes that child very unstable, ready to create undue drama or be possibly violent in the classroom.

    Seems like no one is taking about all the loss productive time the students and teacher suffers when there is daily outbursts. It is very real, and no teacher should be evaluated in a negative manner when they have such students in their classrooms and Administrators refuse to remove such students that continuously cause distractions in a classroom, nor effectively hold the parent/guardian responsible.

    The new state mandated teacher evaluations do not address this problem, so it will likely be fodder for lawsuits in the future---one of the unintended consequences Lawmakers failed to see.

    We all want what's right for ALL children and people involved. It is time to look outside of the box for solutions of chronic, ongoing problems that plague our schools and our children. Thank you.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  3. Star:

    For the most part I supported the Federal government's initiative to "mainstream" the students with impairments--mental, physical, and emotional--with their peer group. But in some cases it just doesn't work to the benefit of all in the classroom. In fact, just the opposite. It works against them. Same is true with ELL--English Language Learners. If teachers are devoting more and more regular class time to shore up ELL students, then the rest of the class, who are proficient in English, fall behind in their other subjects like math, science, civics and history.

    Carmine D

  4. Violence in schools has only been identified, not effectively treated. Without mental health access for students and their families, we will continue to experience the types of violence our society faces each day. Some cultures now make being violent and having rage acceptable. The taxpaying public may be unaware of the range of violent behaviors some students possess and present. Acting out students at schools who are "special needs" can be "contained" in safe, vacant rooms, spaces, or conference rooms, where the acting out students would be yelling, punching holes into the walls and doors for the entire day until either their parent/guardian comes or they are transported. Clearly to any person walking from the streets, might view this as not the "least restrictive environment" nor best place for the child(ren) to be, since a great deal of time being spent in such safe rooms or spaces.

    Other students pass such safe rooms on a regular basis, horrified. Classroom teachers may not have other routes to avoid such exposures.

    Such events adversely effects and virtually destroys school culture, and the overall sense of safety and security within schools. When populations of children are exposed to such, without any counseling to mitigate it, it elevates anxiety levels for all concerned. Soon, families leave their neighborhoods due to such, as well as school staff, all traumatized at some level.

    As a compassionate society, we have a duty, and hopefully the mindfulness, to set reasonable levels of what is tolerated. School is not the place for violence or force in any form. Parents should expect that their children will be in a learning environment that is peaceful, safe, and fun.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  5. NO child who has developed and established a behavioral pattern of being violent, be it punching, hitting, spitting, pulling hair, stabbing with scissors, pen, or pencil, throwing objects, or other inappropriate behaviors as sexual gestures or remarks, bringing BB guns or other weapons, should be allowed to continue such behaviors with the school population. Tolerating such behaviors in the name of budget cuts is not justice, and it tramples on the rights of peaceful (and helpless) people.

    There are school district policies, throughout the United States of America, that state ZERO TOLERANCE to a large list of behaviors. As the years roll by, it is evident that school site Administrators are put in the position of judge and jury wielding great power and public trust, deciding what will be "tolerated" at their school sites.

    So what does ZERO tolerance really mean?

    With the prevalence of bullying, we know it has gotten out of control because not enough enforcement had taken place. Volumes of notification paperwork (Taxpayer funded) and school assemblies have created awareness and some limited resolve. The same goes with other negative behaviors.

    This is has come about because there is NO mental health access nor intervention at the school level. Most parents and behavioral students that walk out of a conference will not follow up in getting help, and these behaviors persists, for years on end, many times ending with the student dropping out. That is unacceptable.

    THAT is at the real problem going on here. HOW individuals think bears upon their behaviors and ability to actively learning and succeed academically and socially. It starts with the MIND, and our society has gravely neglected addressing to its care. living without peace, nor security, has become the new normal and acceptable to many.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star