It is most unfortunate that the children for whom teachers should care for and protect the most are often the most victimized. Special needs children often cannot fight back, verbalize what is happening to them at school, or, if they do fight back, they are restrained and removed from the classroom because a teacher claims it was "self-defense." If your child has been the victim of an abusive or neglectful teacher, you need to a) report it, and b) get a special education lawyer. Here is how the lawyer will stop your special education horror story.
Make Sure the Teacher Is Removed from the Classroom
Some school districts carry a policy whereby the teacher's contract allows the teacher to continue teaching in the classroom even when said teacher is under investigation. This places your child in a terrifying and awkward position, given that his/her abuser is still present.
If this is school policy, you have the right to request:
- That the teacher be removed until the investigation is complete
- That your child switch classrooms, if there is another special needs teacher and classroom available (sometimes there is not, especially in small school districts)
- That the teacher be heavily monitored if none of the above can be done to ensure the safety and well-being of your child continues with that teacher present
Sue the Teacher and/or the School District
Usually, once the teacher has been reported and is under investigation for allegations of child abuse, the teacher is removed from the classroom and replaced with a sub. At this time, you can pursue a lawsuit against the teacher, and against the school district that hired her. It may be possible that the teacher had some questionable behavior in the past at other school districts, and it was left unchecked by other employers. It may also be the teacher's first incident, but it should also be his/her last, especially when working with children with special needs.
Present Your Facts, Police Reports and Your Child's IEP and Medical Records to the Lawyer
Before you head into court or settle out of court, your special education lawyer will need to see police reports regarding any injuries your child sustained or any evidence of neglect. Your lawyer will also need to see a copy of your child's IEP (individual education plan), which the school should have furnished you at the last IEP meeting. If your child attends a private or parochial school, he/she may not have an IEP, but an ISP instead (individual service plan). Medical records are also important so that the judge can see that your child has special needs and how the teacher violated your child's rights and ignored the needs.
For more information, talk to a professional like Law Office of Mark W Voigt.