Parents tell horror stories about their kid's experience being inappropriately disciplined in Wisconsin schools.
A new report describes special needs children being restrained and secluded, causing emotional and physical damage. Hugh Davis is with Wisconsin Family Ties .
"Today somewhere in Wisconsin it is possible, and perhaps even likely, that a child will be secluded or restrained due to behavior caused by his or her disability – a disability that the child didn't ask for, and over which they have no control."
Davis says it's about time society cares about kids with disabilities at least as much as we care about puppies in puppy mills.
Hasmig Tempesta recalls how her young son Zachary had looked forward to going to school, until someone quickly took away that joy.
"If I restrained the teachers that restrained my son I would have been arrested."
Paula Buege testifies how her son Donovan was regularly subjected to physical restraint. After she demanded school officials stop those methods, the restraints were replaced with a time-out room, which lead to school suspensions and eventually audio and visual hallucinations.
"He was withdrawn, he didn't eat." She got emotional as she recalled what her son said to her, "'Mom, you can't keep me safe.'"
Jeff Spitzer-Resnick of Disability Rights Wisconsin says the state Department of Instruction's directive is inadequate. They're good ideas, but nothing is mandatory; they're just guidelines.
"They actually say things like 'School districts should consider' …blah, blah, blah. Well, how is that a directive? Considering things are directives. That's guidelines."
State Representative Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) – a psychiatric nurse – says teachers and care providers need adequate training to safely and humanely work with special needs kids. Pasch ( pronounce ) is drafting legislation that facilitates the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, to protect the kids from such practices.
NOTE: Jan Serak, Wisconsin FACETS , notes the stories were not corroborated with the schools, but it shows the impact from the families' perspective.