Bruises from teacher

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hamsterwheel, May 5, 2008.

  1. hamsterwheel

    hamsterwheel New Member

    Hello All,

    difficult child is in a special needs school. Last week difficult child had a meltdown in school due to "lack of attention from peers and teachers". The short of it is, they needed to "safely restrain" her. She was pushed up against a wall before being brought to the floor. Well in doing so, she has a 6 x 3 inch purple bruise on her back. As I understand it, she was dangerously close to an open window, which prompted the "safe restraint"

    When I brought this to their attention, the response was, that's not from anything I did. I understand it very well may be credited to her size (has gained nearly 100lbs from medications) as well as her exaggerated movements. Never the less, I am still extremely angry. It her word against theirs.

    difficult child has told me on several occasions that she has been pushed or shoved by staff. This is a respectable school without prior history and considering difficult child is apt to exaggerate at times, it can be used against her.

    Does anyone know if there are any laws governing cameras in the classrooms?
  2. muts80

    muts80 New Member

    OH MY GOSH! That's aweful!!! I went through a similar situation with my difficult child. He was 5 and attending a public school, but was in an ESE class. He came home saying the teacher's aid pushed him up against a wall. He didn't get any bruises, but to this day he swears it happened. And he's not one to make stuff up. When I confronted the teacher about it, I got the same "that didn't happen" answer. I was so furious! Eventually we changed schools, and never once has he made something like that up again. So I feel your anger! I would go to the principal and let them know what happened, and definitely research the camera thing. I wish every classroom had one!

    Hang in there. :D
  3. Christy

    Christy New Member

    This is such a tough situation. I'm sorry that it happened to your difficult child. When my son was in psychiatric hospital, he got a very bad black eye and bruise on the side of his head. They called and told me that while he was out of control, he slipped in his socks and hit the edge of a table. He eventually needed a PRN injection to calm down. When I talked to my son and said to be more careful, he said that he did not slip and fall but he was pushed down by a man trying to give him an injection. difficult child really isn't manipulating enough to lie so I was obviously very distressed by this. I had the fight the urge to have him removed immediately. The more I thought about how difficult difficult child can be when he is enraged and how much flailing around he does, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and consider it an unfortunate accident. But after that, I worried about him constantly until he was discharged.

    You are right to be concerned. Does the school inform you everytime restraint is necessary? I would insist on that and then make it a habit to casually ask difficult child about the day, checking to see if the the reports are reasonabley similar. If your child reports being pushed or shoved, and you have not been informed of the need for restraint, question the school and ask for an explanation of the situation.

    Good Luck
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    First, I would take difficult child to your regular doctor. Get this injury documented in her medical record. Talking to the doctor will help - if the doctor thinks this is serious enough ask for a copy of the medical report to give to the school board asking them to explain why this was allowed. There should never be an open window without a screen preventing anyone to fall out.

    Second, Pushing and shoving is not a step in restraining someone. I have a job at a facility where every staff (even non-direct care like myself) need to be trained in Theraputic Intervention. We are required to retrain every year. We are taught steps from least intrusive (talk the person down) to the actual restraining of a person. We have never been told to shove anyone to a wall or the floor. There are proper techniques that may need more than one person to take a person to the floor without injury to them or you. The techiques for children may be different but I would bet anything it would never call for pushing or shoving.

    I would think this is grounds to ask the facility what their Theraputic Intervention procedures are.

    When parents cause serious injuries, they get in trouble - so should schools. An accident is an accident but when restraining techniques cause injuries, they should also be investigated on a case by case to see if everything was done properly and if the procedure can be improved to prevent future injuries.
  5. I work in a ED SPED program and am trained yearly in proper restraint techniques. There is one hold which requires two people in which the individual is held against a wall. However, the individual is moved to the wall using an escort technique and not shoved to the extent it would cause bruising. You most definitely should be informed of each and every hold. I have unfortunately left a bruise on a child's arm from a restraint. It is heartbreaking to know that I did but it was a very difficult out of control situation and in an attempt to control the arm in a floor hold, I held too tight. One of the outcomes of this was that the parents (who we had just made a DCF referral on) made a referral on us. DCF opened an investigation and all was in order with me and the program. I have also seen many injuries that were caused by the out of control flailing and therefore mandated the restraint.

    My point is...1) Something is very wrong when an restraint leaves a bruise on the back 2) Call DCF if you think excessive force was used, you would do the same if a neighbor child showed you a huge bruise and told you that an adult pushed him into a wall. 3) However, be prepared to get calls from school for you to remove him/her if he/she is out of control and 4) Trust your instinct!
  6. Dara

    Dara New Member

    I am so sorry that happened to you. I dont have any words of wisdom other than I am truley sorry that happened to your child. Keep us posted on what comes out of this!
  7. looking4hope

    looking4hope New Member

    My difficult child had an experience in pre-school. I got a call one afternoon saying that he was "out of control" and I had to come get him, and he would be suspended for two days. That evening, he told me that the teacher had slapped him in the face. At that age, my difficult child was not prone to lying (still doesn't do it well when he does lie), so I believed him. I called the school the next day, and they of course denied it. I still called Child Protective Services and reported it. I pulled out my child.

    It took about six weeks, but finally a CPS staffer came to interview my son. It was a horrible time (we moved that day), so difficult child was excited to be in his new home. But they did come back and say that the teacher admitted it, and was required to go to a stress management class. To top it off, the school told me that when I pulled out my son that I wouldn't get my tuition back, and when I came back to them with the CPS report, they still wouldn't return it! by the way, it's a large, national chain.

    My point is that trust your mommy gut. I would report it just to protect your difficult child. At a minimum, the staff should be trained in proper restraint protocol. There are ways to restrain an out of control difficult child without giving them a large bruise. Your SD can't kick your child out, and any type of retaliation would put the SD in peril of litigation or worse. Good luck!
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    After many years of seeing my children in restraints of one type or another (with resulting bruises - usually from my children flailing than from a restraint done incorrectly), it's always heartbreaking.

    Having said that, our SD always , always reports to me the same day if a restraint has been used, how long the restraint was needed & the outcome (i.e. quiet break room for add'l calming or other results).

    I have bruised my child in a restraint situation & have always contacted my mental health CM to report in - just to CYA.

    Saying all that, I'd report the situation to whatever office it's appropriate to report it to. I'd let school district know you are taking these steps & why (you weren't informed of the restraint & resulting bruise). I have found it's always better to be upfront with SD. (At least in our case.)

    Good luck.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    This shouldn't happen. I can understand the occasional bruise either from a child flailing, or an over-zealous hold, but these kids are too vulnerable. Too often the school's response is some form of, "You can't believe a difficult child."

    We went through this with difficult child 3. He of course couldn't tell us of these incidents because he didn't have sufficient language, but he had other students reporting to us in various ways. When I complained to the school that a teacher had grabbed difficult child 3 by his shirt and dragged him across the room, the teacher denied it. The school didn't know that it was one of my 'spies' who had reported it, they thought difficult child 3 had told me. That was when they began the "he doesn't know what he is saying," or "he's lying" responses. But it never happened again, as far as I could determine. I think merely being asked about it scared the teacher into being more careful.

    Strong suggestion - cultivate spies. Use the other kids around to tell you, in confidence, what is going on. Never divulge their involvement unless they volunteer to be an open witness, or you will lose them as useful spies. If you have two independent kids give you their different but agreeing accounts of events, you can be fairly sure of the truth.

    And for the case where the child was removed due to parental concerns of abuse which were later proved - you should be able to get fees reimbursed through small claims court. It's like having to leave a flat because you were thrown out by the flatmate, and then having the flatmate insist you continue to pay your share of the rent. It's not acceptable, nor is it legal.

    If you chose to remove your child because you didn't like the colour of the wall paint, or you didn't like the food they served to your child or similar reason, then you wear the fees. You left because it was your choice. But when you remove your child for the child's safety or for some other reason which is the responsibility of the centre the place becomes unsuitable for your child, then you should be entitled to fees reimbursed. If they argue, you should be able to insist.

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry that your child got hurt this way. This should not have happened. I know sometimes children get bruises when they have to be restrained because they are flailing or fighting, but this just doesn't sound like that kind of situation.

    Call CPS and let them know what happened. Take difficult child to the doctor and be SURE they take photographs. if they don't, take your own. Polaroids are best if you ahve a polaroid camera in the closet somewhere. Digital photos can be altered, so they are not your best choice. Even a disposable camera would be a good choice.

    Be sure when you contact CPS that you are very clear. the school may turn and say YOU did it and are blaming them. This happened in an elem school in the district we lived in before we moved to OK. Talking to other students (off school grounds - thisis very important!) would be very helpful.

    I would seriously think about reporting this to the state board of ed, and to the teacher's licensing board.

    Sending cyber-hugs to you and difficult child, and some extra mommy-kisses to help the bruise heal!

  11. Star*

    Star* call 911

    My son was physically restrained one time - and knocked out cold. The staff refused to acknowledge there was any wrong doing. I demaned the tape be reviewed, and took my son to the ER for xrays - the tape showed a staff member hitting my sons head against the wall. Staff member was fired.

    My son has had several physical restraints. Unfortunately some people learn these techniques and can't "wait" to try them out on the first kid who is outta line. I learned them too for safety for him and myself in our home. I've NEVER left a bruise. The technique you describe should not have left a bruise.

    The advice to get a doctors written statement, is in line.
    The request to your school to place cameras in the room and tape daily? Is in line.

    You can also contact an advocacy group called Protection and Advocacy for Disabled people. They have about the best group of know it all's I've ever met. If something can be done they are the ones to call.

    In the mean time - I would write a letter to the principal of this school, include a copy of the dr.'s letter, and explain that you will be checking your daughter daily before and after school for marks. Send it registered with signature card and start a file. an afterthought. My son was abused. Whenever a physical restraint was done to protect him - he flipped out worse than if no one had laid a hand on him. Eventually we told and wrote in his IEP - ABSOLUTELY NO physical restraints. Once we did this? He never needed another one. Something to keep in mind. I realize they are done for the safety of a child and other children - but we got a LOT more results with the SD hiring a Shadow to help difficult child out of the classroom whenever he saw the signs of Dude getting out of control. - Instead of being restrained and having to deal with that - we had a therapist teach him anger coping skills - we taught those to the teacher so she could have a tool to use AND if you think about it - when you are THAT angry - you rage? Would holding you down help? Or would someone saying "Come on let's go for a long walk and talk." be better?

    Sometimes - the walk and talk is more helpful and a lot less stressful.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Another point - take photos. So often we don't because we think we're over-reacting, but if you take a photo and never use it, that's better than needing a photo but not having one.

    We don't just take photos for injuries that are the result of someone else's attack - we took photos after difficult child 3 hurt himself. And also when he had a tick near his eye and his eye swelled up. We've only ever used the photos once - the time when difficult child 3 had a log thrown at his head and it gashed him. Next day I went to the spot and found the log, from difficult child 3's description. I took photos of that, too.

    I've also taken photos of kids in general playing on a pile of building rubble and throwing rocks at people and cars. I'd tried to tell parents about their kids throwing rocks but instead got a parent saying, "Your child did it first," which was not true. So I went back and took photos, so if difficult child 3 ever got accused again, I could produce the photo and say, "He's not in this photo. Your kids are. Fix it." I also emailed the photo to the school principal who as usual did nothing - but at least he had a copy of the photo, so if something had gone badly wrong, he had absolutely no leg to stand on.

    When gangs of kids roam our streets on Halloween, using it as an excuse to vandalise and attack, I go around taking photos of the groups waiting for an opportunity. I'm in the street, they're in the street, so in my mind they're fair game. If they're doing nothing wrong, then there is no problem with their picture being taken. But if the house next to where they're standing gets vandalised five minutes later, and they know I have their picture - maybe they won't vandalise that house after all. But anything going wrong, they know their photo exists and they know they will get a knock on their door. The police know I'm doing this.

    On my computer, I have an increasing number of photos which I've never used and probably never will. But just knowing they are there gives me some feeling of security.

  13. hamsterwheel

    hamsterwheel New Member

    Thank you all for the support and suggestions. I did call the Child Study Team as well as difficult child’s counselor and reported the bruise in addition to taking pictures. I am reluctant to take her to the pediatrician as I know the result will be a call to CPS. I did tell the offending teacher I spoke to difficult child’s counselor about the incident, as I brought her in for an emergency session. None the less he is now aware there are others aware of the situation and will hopefully not have a reoccurrence.

    Although I am not happy with the situation, I am relucatant to make waves. She does not have regular contact with the adult other than in passing and difficult child has made miraculous improvements since being placed in this program. The school overall is fantastic, providing assistance beyond their requirements. However, I've always felt that the adult in question has had a low tolerance of her as she is more difficult the average difficult child. (must be from her mother's stubbornness) She often challenges them forcing them to re-evaluate “normal” procedures. This “safe restraint” came after a call telling me I had to pick her up from school which was placed in her presence.

    difficult child does not like to hear about her rages, especially when she is in the middle of one. I have requested several times, if they need to reach me, to please not do it in front of her. To no avail, they did it again. I have now requested it in writing. Hopefully this will work.

    difficult child’s school is a program within a public school, a transition program, she takes mainstream classes for what they refer to as specials, (PE, art, music, recess), and cameras are not allowed. At least this is what I have been told. I am waiting on a call back from the state to confirm.

    Thanks again for the help. Sometimes one know whats right, but the brain gets all cluttered and you need someone else to sort it out for you. So thanks again for clearing the fog.

    Hope you all have a wonderful day.