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dad questions school decision to expel autistic son deemed violent

Posted by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:39 AM
  • 8 Replies

Langley dad questions school decision to expel autistic son deemed violent

 

 
 
 

A six-year-old autistic boy is being transferred to another school after three teachers at Langley Topham elementary school refused to report to work as long as he attended the school because they say his violent, aggressive behaviour threatened their safety.

The boy’s father, Brooks Patterson, said he has yet to hear specifically what happened in the classroom with his son, Hunter, and finds it “shocking” that adults were threatened by a 60-lb. six-year-old.

“When he gets frustrated, he can start swinging his arms and he can scratch with his tiny little fingernails, but we still don’t know what’s he’s done,” he said. “I’ve never been scratched and he’s never been violent with us. Not to the extent that I would feel like I would be in any danger.

“I’ve seen his (autistic) fits, but we have a 15-year-old babysitter who is capable of putting him to bed by herself,” he said.

“I find it hard to believe three highly eduated people couldn’t come up with a solution.”

And he noted the “special education assistant” assigned for part-time one-on-one teaching with Hunter in the school wasn’t one of the teachers listed in the complaint.

The teachers cited as many as 16 “physical and/or threatening incidents,” according to an inspection report done at the Walnut Grove school.

“Workers who have responded (as a group) to these situations have been exposed to a high risk of injury due to the aggressive and violent behaviour of the student,” the report said, without naming the teachers or the student.

The report recommended better training for teachers.

Patterson said Hunter has been out of school for about a month and he and his wife met Monday with two other area elementary schools that are willing to work with Hunter.

“The staff (at the new schools) seem great,” he said.

WorkSafe BC complaints about occupational health threats in schools are rare but not unheard of; there have been three or four over the past three or four years in the Langley school district, according to spokeswoman Donna Freeman.

District spokesman Craig Spence said he couldn’t discuss specifics but said a solution is likely this week.

Susan Foncesa of the Langley Teachers Association said she couldn’t discuss details because of privacy concerns but said the case involves “a lot of violent instances.”

She said teachers do get injuried in classrooms, including in her five-year tenure as union rep, a teacher whose ankle was broken after a student kicked her, another who had her arm broken and others who suffered eye injuries.

“Violence is a lot more common than you’d think in schools,” she said.

But she noted there are 200 other students in the district with some form of autism and she said it wasn’t an issue of students with autism acting violently.

Patterson said he recognizes that Topham did the best they could but said they weren’t properly prepared to provide Hunter with the care he needed and he and his wife hope he will do better in a new students with better-trained teachers that can give him the consistent routine he needs to manage his autism.

“I refuse to believe I have the worst kid in B.C.,” he said.

slazaruk@theprovince.com

twitter.com/susanlazaruk



Read more:http://www.theprovince.com/health/Langley+questions+school+decision+expel+autistic+deemed+violent/4605006/story.html#ixzz1JPjkkWzt
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:39 AM
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thatgirl70
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:42 AM

He doesn't have the worst kid, but frankly if I found out my son's teachers couldn't handle him (and some don't have the proper training to handle autistic children), I'd rather not have them around him. His son will be better off in the new school I'm sure.

alexluck
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Wow those teachers are full of BULL:( How can't they not handle a child this young. They are not dealing with a psycho path this is just a kid with development problems. How stupid.

mallowcup17
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:51 AM

i agree. the whole thing clearly could have been handled better too. 

Quoting thatgirl70:

He doesn't have the worst kid, but frankly if I found out my son's teachers couldn't handle him (and some don't have the proper training to handle autistic children), I'd rather not have them around him. His son will be better off in the new school I'm sure.


Evol-Soul
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:17 PM

I have had similar experiences with my 7yr son and school. He was taken out of school in Dec. 2010. However, I know how aggressive my child can get when he's upset and it's hard to calm him down if there are people around. It can be hard to handle at times for me as a mother so I can see the problem for the average un-trained teacher with other students to deal with..Personally, I didn't want people mistreating him because they see him as the problem child compared to other children. I was so stressed when he was in school and I found that he was very stressed as well. Since, he has been home school his aggressive behaviors have improved greatly. Only GOD knows how much better I feel!

JSD24
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:45 PM

 Sounds to me that the teachers need training on how to handle this child rather than the child being moved to another school.  Maybe the 15 year-old who babysits can show them how she handles him.

thatgirl70
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:00 PM


Quoting Evol-Soul:

I have had similar experiences with my 7yr son and school. He was taken out of school in Dec. 2010. However, I know how aggressive my child can get when he's upset and it's hard to calm him down if there are people around. It can be hard to handle at times for me as a mother so I can see the problem for the average un-trained teacher with other students to deal with..Personally, I didn't want people mistreating him because they see him as the problem child compared to other children. I was so stressed when he was in school and I found that he was very stressed as well. Since, he has been home school his aggressive behaviors have improved greatly. Only GOD knows how much better I feel!

I agree. One of the reasons why his Head Start teachers and I felt our son would be best in a PPCD class is because they are not trained as special education teachers. The two of them didn't know how to handle him (he's not really aggressive, but I know he has his moments). It wasn't like they didn't want him around or anything, they just knew that he wasn't going to get the help he needed from them. He needed to be with an experienced teacher. His HS teacher was pretty new too, she only just got her full teaching credentials in December. I'm sure she will probably do more training, but she's not there yet, kwim? So yeah I can understand how overwhelmed she was.

But these teachers...it's just...well I don't have time to add my thoughts right now, but I will later.

Lacey1990
by on Feb. 11, 2014 at 3:53 PM
2 moms liked this

I think many people are missing the point of why the teachers made the decision they did.

i am not a teacher but have my ece and have worked with many children both with and without learning disabilities.sometimes its not about the teachers not being able to handle that child it comes down to the safety of the other children in that class or school.perhaps other steps could have been taken but i do not think it is fair to call down a school or teachers based on what you hear unless you have delt with this child. teachers see hundreds of children over the years parents only see their children. teachers are trained to teach not to deal with behavioural issues how ever a support teacher is trained to help in a situation like this. my question is why did this child not have a support in place?

 

SamMom912
by Platinum Member on Feb. 11, 2014 at 5:11 PM

I agree with Lacey1990... Im guessing this wasnt an appropriate classroom for this boy...Many parents want "least restrictive environment" for their child.. and that is all well and fine- but when other children are effected by it, and when the teachers feel the behavior isnt controllable,ts best to find a more appropriate placement.
I REALLY am glad that the boy is enjoying his new class, the teachers and other students are a better fit and everyone can be happy. It didnt seem to me like he was very happy if he was swinging, hitting and frustrated...

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