Reported by Embracing Atypical
So this happened today…. Please read and share as much as possible so my son, gets justice!!! This is WRONG!! I have more pictures, this is just one of the many I have of the bruises that the staff at Frankton Elementary Schools, did to my son.
Also following is an email that was sent to all school officials, including superintendent, all counselors, therapists, and the local newspaper (The Herald Bulletin).
My name is Amber LeJeune-Kanzler. I am the mother of an 8 year old Autistic boy, Dylan Kelley, who is a 2nd grader at Frankton Elementary School.
My son was physically assaulted by three teachers/staff members today 2/4/2019 and was physically dragged to the “time-out” room.
He arrived home with visible bruises and a cut on his shoulder that was bleeding. I am writing you to discuss resolution to this matter as this is the 2nd time physical force has been used on my autistic son without authorization or permission. I was also told there are cameras inside the school and I am requesting access to view the altercation.
My son’s only been attending Frankton Elemntary School for approximately 3 months. During this time, I have met with school officials and created and individual education plan (IEP) for my son. At no point during the IEP meetings or any point thereafter did any member of Frankton Elementary School suggest or mention the use of physical force or seclusion in a “time-out” room as a means of disciplinary action.
Just this past Friday, 2.1.2019, I was contacted by phone, after school hours, by Mrs. Eads, Special Education Resource teacher. She advised there was an altercation involving Dylan while he was in the hallway, lined up for dismissal.
Two other school teachers, who’s names were not provided, noticed Dylan fidgeting and rocking his backpack back and forth. This is a typical and very normal behavior among autistic children and it’s called “stemming”. It is a coping mechanism to calm themselves during times of high stimulation and stress.
Mrs. Eads advised Dylan was instructed to stand still and when he did not, one of the teachers asked Dylan to go to the office. Dylan said he did not want to go. At this point, two teachers gripped Dylans arms, one on each side, and proceeded to pull him towards the office.
When Dylan started to cry and struggle against their physical touch, Mrs. Eads heard him from inside the office and walked out into the hallway and witnessed two teachers pulling Dylan by the arms to the office.
Mrs. Eads did intervene and advised the teachers that Dylan is autistic and doesn’t like to be touched. She also told me she advised them that this was not the way to handle him. I thanked her for her transparency and explained to her that he does not like to be touched and that there is no reason for any teachers to be touching Dylan.
When Dylan arrived home from school today, 2/4/2019, I noticed he was acting strange. I asked Dylan if he had a good day at school and that’s when he began to explain the 2nd assault. Dylan advised he was having a rough day during class and was sent to Mrs. Eads class for an indefinite amount of time.
While in Mrs. Eads classroom, he was instructed to complete a worksheet during a specified time frame. Dylan’s agitation grew and he broke two of his pencils. This is when he was instructed to leave the class and go out into the hallway. Mrs. Hill followed and explained to Dylan he must finish his worksheet or go to the “time-out” room. During this conversation, the principal, Ronda Podzielinski, was walking by and asked Dylan what was wrong.
Mrs. Hill advised Dylan is refusing to complete his worksheet and that he’s been told he must finish his worksheet or go to the “time-out” room. Dylan told me he “didn’t make the decision fast enough” because Ms. Podzielinski told Dylan to stand up and go to the “time-out” room.
When Dylan did not move, Ms. Podzielinski called Daniel Huston, a Special Education Resource teacher to come assist in carrying Dylan to the “time-out” room. Both Mrs. Hill and Ms. Podzielinski waited with Dylan until Mr. Huston arrived.
At this point, Mrs. Hill and Ms. Podzielinski each grabbed one of Dylans arms and Mr. Daniel Huston grabbed Dylans legs and they carried Dylan, who was crying and struggling very hard against their touches, to the “time-out” room. They put him inside, shut the door, and walked away. As a result of this, Dylan sustained multiple injuries.
He has petechial bruising under and around both arm pits and arms. There are also other finger bruises that appear to be darkening with time. Dylan also has a cut on his left shoulder that was bleeding, as well as other minor scratches.
Dylan began this school year attending Eastside Elementary School with Anderson Schools. During this time, Dylan was flourishing. He was provided a full-time aide that stayed with him throughout the day and was in a class with other special needs children. He was making excellent grades and doing very well.
There were open lines of communication and transparency and acts of defiance were not common.
When my family was required to move, Dylan was then reassigned to Frankton Elementary. Since attending this school, his autism has regressed significantly. I have requested a full-time aide for Dylan and was told they are not prepared to pay for a full-time aide for one student.
Frankton Elememtary also does not have a special special needs class. All special needs children are incorporated into classes with neurotypical kids.
This environment does not align with the learning style of autistic children and does not provide the progression and attention my son needs to succeed, nor are they willing to dedicate the money and resources to helping my autistic son.
When you add the forced physical touching and understand that any episode of “touching” or “physically assisting” an autistic child is a very big deal to them and is very violating to their bodies and emotions. When I discussed this incident with the principal, she did not validate my concerns and instead suggested we have an IEP review meeting.
As a result of these 2 physical assaults and the lack of willingness to provide the necessary resources for my son to succeed, I have contacted an attorney and will be seeking any and all legal options against Frankton Elementary and Frankton-Lapel Community School Corporation.
I am monitoring the injuries and bruises on my son and will be looking to file a police report for assault charges against all 3 school officials. I have also included multiple TV new stations and the Herald Bulletin on this email because my requests and my wishes have not been heard or validated.
At this point, I need to know how Frankton-Lapel Community School Corporation and Frankton Elementary plan to do rectify this situation so that my son has unbridled access to a “safe and caring environment” like their school mission states.
I also have a 9 year old daughter who is a 3rd grader at Frankton Elementary and I do not feel safe sending either one of my children to school tomorrow or any other day.
I am insisting both my children, Dylan and Mya Kelley, be transferred back to Eastside Elementary with transportation provided.
I am also insisting I be granted access to the security footage of both alleged assaults.
Please contact me at the phone number listed below at your earliest convenience.
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