Other People's Words

AWN interview w/ Anna Moore about restraints and seclusion

Posted in Uncategorized by Tera on November 27, 2010

[Trigger Warning: Discussion of child abuse in schools]

This is a transcript of the Autism Women’s Network’s interview with Anna Moore, parent of an autistic son who’s involved with Families Against Restraint and Seclusion.

[Music]

Sharon daVanport: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AWN radio. We are the Autism Women’s Network on Blogtalk. We’re streaming to you live over the Internet from the Midwest, USA. I am your host, Sharon daVanport, and today is Monday, November 22, 2010. In just a few minutes, we will be bringing on our guest for the hour, Anna Moore, an advocate for Families Against Restraints and Seclusion. [Warning: Link contains images and discussion of child abuse] First, I want to welcome back our co-host, Tricia Kenney, who’s been absent as many people have known over the past couple weeks. Welcome back, Tricia. We missed you while you were away.

Tricia Kenney: [Chuckles] Hi, Sharon. Thank you so much; it’s good to be back. Yeah, I know I was MIA for a while, but we made a very important move and it really ties into the show today. But we did it for a good reason—for our children—and we’re busy getting settled in and everything. But glad to be back with the show and everybody else.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, that’s so nice. And I’m so glad that the move is turning out to be just as positive as you had anticipated. So, looking forward to hearing more and more about that as the kids get settled in.

Tricia Kenney: All right. Sounds good.

Sharon daVanport: Yeah. Well, first, we wanted to give one quick announcement. It’s about our sponsorship with LifePROTEKT. To enter our AWN monthly prize giveaway, which is sponsored, of course, by LifePROTEKT, you just only need to submit your story to us here at Autism Women’s Network as to why your loved one would benefit from a GPS location device, and our e-mail address for that entry is info AT autismwomensnetwork DOT org. And good luck.

Tricia Kenney: There are a few stipulations. [Chuckles]

Sharon daVanport: Yeah, I was going to say. If you want to go ahead and tell them before we totally close it out, some of the stipulations. Is it cell phone coverage, correct?

Tricia Kenney: Yes. You need to be in a place where there is cell phone coverage, because that’s how these devices work. So if you are way out in the boonies and you don’t get cell phone coverage, this device just would not work for you. So they’re working with technology to make that better, so that it can be farther reaching out. For the time being, though, this is just the way the technology is at this point. So if you live in a place where you get strong cell phone coverage, you’re fine.

Also, you would need to make sure, because this is a device that is like a wristwatch, you need to make sure that your child will be okay with having that on. I know a lot of our kids have sensory issues and just won’t wear things like that. So it is something that attaches to the child. If you want to do it in a different way once you get the device and not have it around their wrist—if you want to put it in their pocket or attach it in some way where they won’t remove it, that’s fine. But it is like a wristwatch, so you need to be aware of that, for those who do have those sensory issues.

Sharon daVanport: I know a parent who actually loops it around the back belt loop in the very back of her son, because he doesn’t like the way anything feels. In school, he won’t sit against a chair, so she doesn’t have to worry about him feeling or knowing that it’s back there, because he’s not going to sit up against a chair anyway, because he doesn’t like that feeling on his back. So she just hooks it to the back of his pants, a little watch device. So that works well for them. So I guess there’s some different ways you can do that.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah, just be creative. But it’s such an important way to help find your child, if they are one of those children who likes to run off and give us all heart attacks. But it’s a way to help protect your kids, so if you have that situation in your home…it’s for younger children, too, because it’s a smaller wristwatch, so really, we wouldn’t want to do this for anybody over the age of 12, just for the size issue of it. But for those of you with children who are 12 and younger who do have that issue, this is just such a wonderful gift, and we’re so grateful that LifePROTEKT does help us with this every month.

Sharon daVanport: Right. Okay. And I’m glad that we were able to explain that, because I didn’t want anyone to think that once they get the device…if they know ahead of time that there’s some sensory issues, then they definitely could decide if it’s going to be an entry that they want to put their name in for.

Tricia Kenney: Right; right.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. All right. Well, I’m excited about our guest Anna Moore today, Tricia. I’ve been seeing a lot of information around the Internet on some different videos, actually, is how I came into contact first with her name last year—a video that was put out. I’m just real excited for her to come on and tell us why she’s been involved with Families Against Restraint and Seclusion, and that’s something very near and dear to your heart. [Chuckles]

Tricia Kenney: Yep, yep. So she’s got a great story and she does so many wonderful things in the community. Why don’t we go ahead and bring her out, and she can tell us what she’s been doing?

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Welcome to the show, Anna.

Anna Moore: Thank you.

Sharon daVanport: Yes; thank you for being with us today.

Anna Moore: Thank you for having me.

Sharon daVanport: Yes. Trish and I wanted to first start out, Anna, by asking you to explain to our listeners what organizations you are involved with and then why you became involved with these organizations. Basically, just tell us your story.

Anna Moore: Okay, sure. I’m with Florida Families Against Restraint and Seclusion. [Trigger Warning: Link contains images and discussion of child abuse in schools] We also have Families against Restraint and Seclusion, which is a national site, and then I’m an advocate with Florida Families Against Restraints and Seclusion. I got into it back in 2007 when my son was restrained at school. I never knew that this went on; I always assumed the schools weren’t allowed to put their hands on your children. He was seven years old; he was very tiny. My son was about 52 pounds.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Anna Moore: He was always very well-behaved. Never talked much to other people, but at home he did. Never a behavior problem. He’d had a lot of sensory issues, things like that. His senses are very hypersensitive; he hears extremely well; his sense of smell is unbelievable. So things would really bother him. Since he didn’t talk to other people so much, it was difficult, I guess, for them to understand what was going on. The first time it happened, it was really strange. He went to school. There were four incidents in total, and all of this happened—

Sharon daVanport: That’s okay. If you could explain all of that, that’d be great—how it all evolved, yeah.

Anna Moore: And all of this happened in a month and a half period.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Anna Moore: They start school in August, and this started happening the middle of March. School’s almost out in May, and this is when this started happening. Sometimes the lunch room would be too noisy for him; that was a really difficult area for him. I don’t know why it is, but it seems like every school [there] is always one of those lunch ladies [Chuckles] that causes problems for our kids because they don’t get it. One time he grabbed something he thought he wanted and he put it back, and of course the lady screamed at him: “You can’t touch the food!” So for two weeks he wouldn’t eat and he wouldn’t go inside the lunch room. Just things like that.

Sharon daVanport: [sadly] Oh.

Tricia Kenney: [sadly] Oh.

Anna Moore: So I had to go up and I told him to tell me who it was, and I went over and explained to her my son’s issues, and asked her if she could please apologize to him so that he’s not afraid to come back through your line. And she did; she was very nice. I did it in a very nice manner and everything worked out fine. I don’t know about everybody else, but I tend to have to do things a lot like that. It’s happening a lot less, thank God.

But anyway, the first restraint, it was time to go to lunch and he didn’t want to go. My son always puts his head down. He’ll block off the visual stimulation so that…He’ll participate in class, but he knows enough to block off that visual, because he’s getting overwhelmed. So he didn’t want to go to lunch, so he put his head down. And all of this is hindsight. All I did was I got a phone call that day from the nurse. I always make friends with the nurse and the janitors and the lunch ladies. They all know what’s going on at school.

[Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: Good idea.

Anna Moore: So she called me, and she said: “Anna, I have Isaiah in here and he doesn’t look well at all.” And I’m like: “All right; I’m on my way.” I said: “How did he get there?” and she said: “He was brought in by the administrator and I was asked just to watch him. So I don’t know what’s going on, but you need to get here.”

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Anna Moore: So I ran down there, and I went into the clinic. He was sleeping. Isaiah’s ADHD, but he’s Inattentive, and sleeping happens a lot with Isaiah. It’s hard to keep him awake sometimes, but this happened to be from what he went through. So I went to check on him, he was sleeping, and I told her: “I’ll be right back.” I asked for an administrator; nobody would come up. So I signed myself in, and I went into the school looking for somebody.

So when I went in, they have a safety monitor—in other words, the person who monitors the lunch room, things like that. She was passing me, and she said: “Mrs. Moore,” and I said: “Yes?” She said: “I had to hold your son today.” And I said: “You did?” And I’m listening to her and she tells me: “Yeah, he didn’t want to go to lunch room and they called me in.” Then she started showing me what she did. She said she had to go behind him and wrap her arms around him, while—and she used the name “Trish”—grabbed him by his feet. And I was like: “Really.” Trish is the principal’s secretary. [Chuckles]

Sharon daVanport: Oh, wow.

Anna Moore: I’m pretty sure she’s not trained in restraint.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Tricia Kenney: Oh.

Anna Moore: And all of this, because he had his head down on the desk. This is my point that I want everybody to understand: They’re making it sound like our kids are aggressive. No; our kids are shutting down and they’re provoking them, is what’s happening.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: It turns out there was five of them who surrounded him at the table, and one of them reached under and pulled his glasses off, so now he’s under a table, he can’t see, and he’s got five people surrounding him. And he’s seven years old.

Tricia Kenney: Oh.

Sharon daVanport: Ugh.

Anna Moore: I did have one woman there who was phenomenal with him, and she happened to actually be the dean of discipline. So when he saw her, he ran to her, because she’s always been wonderful with my son. One day he was having an issue where he shut down and he wouldn’t go with anybody. She pulled up in a golf cart; he jumped in, and she took him to her office, let him relax and everything, and then took him back to class. So she was wonderful with him, so she got him to come to her. She dropped him off in the clinic. And I did forget to mention he had mucus all over the front of his shirt.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, my goodness, Anna.

Anna Moore: And where I was with the woman who said she had to grab my son, and I asked her: “Do you know what autism is?” She said no, so I was going to explain it and I just decided: You know what? She just seems so clueless. I didn’t have time; I just want to get back to my son after I found out what had happened.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah.

Anna Moore: And as I was walking away, she said: “Oh, Mrs. Moore, maybe you should call Supernanny.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, wow.

Anna Moore: It’s a good thing I had to get back to my son, because I was furious. She caught herself trying to make a joke. Just completely clueless. So I just went back to my son, and I realized, my son is burning up with a fever, and his eyes are rolling back in his head. So I got him in the car; I knew I didn’t have Tylenol at home, so I went into Walgreens and I’m giving it to him in the car. I called my pediatrician right away, because now I know they had their hands on him, and I got him in there about four hours later. AT that point, he had 102, almost 103 fever.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Anna Moore: So he was a lot hotter than that [before I gave him the Tylenol]. They didn’t even take into consideration that he was sick. My son gets strep throat, but he has no symptoms until it’s really, really far gone. So he was on antibiotics for about ten days prior to this incident, so I thought he was fine. We sent him back to school. He was fine when he went in. Well, it turns out he had viral bronchitis on top of it. So he was sick. That’s why he didn’t want to go to the lunch room. And instead of somebody figuring that out, you start ripping him out of a chair and restraining him because he won’t go in the lunch room?

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Anna Moore: And that was the first incident. And according to my son, they all had him up in the air. One had one arm, one had the other arm, and two other people had his legs.

Sharon daVanport: I can’t imagine how scared he was, Anna. Jut how traumatized he must have been.

Anna Moore: I know. What you need to realize, this is a little boy. And in that classroom was earning Es in conduct. Es are very difficult to get. That means excelling at grade level expectations, at works well with others, follows class and school rules. Now, Isaiah’s a twin; his twin sister, she’s always on the honor roll and she only gets Ss in conduct, because she talks too much. [Chuckles] But that’s a point I just want people to get, is that this is a very well-behaved child. Very quiet, would never disrupt the room, and this is what they’re doing.

After that happened, I went online. I started typing in “restraint.” I think I was using the word “restraint,” I started typing in things, and that’s when I found Phyllis. And Phyllis is the founder of Families Against Restraint and Seclusion. Thank God for Phyllis, because I don’t know what I would have done. I never ever thought they could touch people’s children like that. I had no idea.

Tricia Kenney: I’ve been the same way. I figure it’s the same for schools as it is for strangers; you just don’t lay on your hands on anybody’s children. I had no idea that it was okay for the to do this.

Anna Moore: Right, I know. And then so I found an No Restraint letter that attorneys had put together. They have an autistic child and they had drawn up this No Restraint letter, so I got it, filled it in for my child, and I filed it with them at school. So now I immediately call an IEP meeting; I won’t send him back. Of course, the head of EFE says: “This should’ve never happened; this’ll never happen again.” They assured me that this shouldn’t have happened, and so I trusted them, and I sent my son back.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Anna Moore: The next time was in April. I’m trying to remember the second one. My son, we taught him when he feels overwhelmed to put his head down. That was the norms of the classroom; the teacher was fine with it. And he only did it for ten or 15 minutes, and then he would come right back and do what needs to be done. Well, she kept harassing him while his head was down: “You know you’re choosing not to do your work; you know that you’re going to have to complete this at home.” And he would just agree with anything she said, because he wanted her to leave him alone.

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Anna Moore: So I told him: “You know what, Isaiah? Go into the restroom. Go into the bathroom.” The bathroom is in the classroom, mind you. “Go into the bathroom and just take your ten or 15 minutes. That way, she can’t keep hounding you.” He needs you to be quiet. He’s trying to stop stimulation and he needs you to be quiet. So he went into the bathroom. Well, at this point, my son is high-functioning, so people don’t think that he has a disability because they don’t know him. People that know him, they’ll see the different things. But this teacher just really thought that there was nothing wrong with this child and it was all me. I found that out later on, not at this point, because we were working together at first.

So she called the ESE department, told them that he was locked in the bathroom, and they sent two janitors to come and unlock the door. Like I said, I know the janitors. So the one guy, when he opened the door and saw it was my kid, he was like: “I’m not touching this kid,” and they walked out of the room. Somebody from the ESE department was there also. Well, she went into the bathroom and started restraining my son and pulling him out of the bathroom.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Anna Moore: At this point, I had put a safe space for him in the classroom, and so what she did was she…well, now, it’s hindsight, again. My son said later that she threw him into his safe space. Now, all of this happened. I pull up at school to pick up my son; my son gets in the car. This is how it began, how I found out that the second restraining, because I just went right into it, but I didn’t tell you. I pull up to pick him up, my son gets in the car, he’s very quiet and has a big red mark across the side of his face. I’m like: “What happened? What happened?” And now he won’t talk to me. He’s like: “Just leave me alone; just leave me alone. Stop talking to me; nothing’s wrong; nothing happened.”

So I leave and he’s quiet all day; he goes in his room, and at 6:00 I get a phone call. It’s a parent from one of the kids in the classroom, and she proceeds to tell me: “Anna, you’re not going to believe what my son just told me they did to Isaiah.” And I’m like: “What?!” I’m freaking out. “What?!” And she told me that: “They ripped him out of the bathroom and my son said they threw him into a stack of chairs.”

So I go running for my son. I’m like: “Isaiah, what happened today?” He’s like: “Who told you? Who told you?” I’m like: “Another parent just called me.” And he starts screaming and crying: “”They hurt me, Mommy. They hurt me.”

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Tricia Kenney: God.

Anna Moore: I start feeling around his head and I realize that his temple and behind his ear is swollen. So I rush him to the emergency room. I’m not a doctor; I don’t know. He was lethargic. So we get that done, and at least it’s documented and my son is fine, so we come home. He’s fine physically, but not mentally.

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Anna Moore: Now, at this point, I call the police. I file an abuse, and I called the DCF, which is the Division of Children and Families, and I report abuse. So everybody had to fill out police reports, and that’s how I got the story, because they didn’t have time to get their stories together. They immediately had to write them, so everybody’s story varied. One said they gently placed him on a pillow.

Tricia Kenney: [Chuckles]

Anna Moore: [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Right. I’ll bet they did, uh-huh.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, God.

Anna Moore: And he banged his own face into the stack of chairs. Yeah, okay. So it’s pretty funny how all the stories didn’t match. So, again, I’m not sending my son to school. So they’re calling me: “He’s got to come back to school. We need to do a Functional Behavior Assessment.” Now, I know it’s not my son. I know it’s the environment and the teacher, so I say: “Yes, let’s do a Functional Behavior Assessment,” which is an FBA. I’m thinking he’s going to observe, he’s going to clearly see what’s setting him off, because she doesn’t stop harassing him when he needs just ten or 15 minutes.

So they tell me they have an autism specialist, a behavior analyst, and I’m like: “Okay, great. I want to talk to her before she goes in there.” I refused to send my son back. I said: “He will not go back for a full day.” I refused. I said: “How long do you need?” And they said: “Two hours.” And I said: “That’s fine, and I’m going to stay in the school, and I want to talk to her. So we sat down, we talked. She’s an autism specialist, okay. Keep that in mind. [Chuckles] So I eat lunch with him at school and I let him go with the class. They go outside for recess. So he’s playing, everything’s fine.

Now, what I didn’t mention is, up until this point my son was so scared to go to school that he started urinating on himself in the classroom, because when he tried to come home, she wouldn’t let him.

Tricia Kenney: Oh.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Anna Moore: And I think it’s absolutely brilliant. A child wouldn’t just do this unless he just completely has no other options. He urinated on himself, knowing she could not leave him in wet clothes, and I would have to be called.

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Anna Moore: That’s where we were at.

Tricia Kenney: Kids are great problem-solvers, aren’t they? [Chuckles]

Anna Moore: Yeah, yeah. Well, I didn’t realize what they were putting him through. I never imagined…I keep being told: “This shouldn’t have happened.” Now, the Functional Behavior Assessment, somebody’s supposed to observe. That’s what it is. So they go to recess, they start to go back into the classroom, and my son won’t go into the classroom. He stops in the hallway, and he sits down.

So the behavior analyst sits next to him, and she said that she decided he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. He doesn’t know who she is; he doesn’t know why she’s there, and she’s sitting next to him. She decides she’s going to start doing academics with him. She gets a piece of paper and it’s a word and there’s a letter missing, and she keeps telling him to tell her what the missing letter is. [Chuckles] He’s distraught; he doesn’t care what letter’s missing, and actually, she’s supposed to be observing. I have no idea why she’s doing academics. She said that he ignored her, and I have this in writing, since she actually had the nerve to file a referral. She said he ignored her.

Now, my son also has Tourette’s, so he has tics. I know what ignoring means. He probably turned his back to her and was probably grunting. So she said that she continued to put the paper in his face and ask him for the missing letter. The next time, he ripped the paper. She said that she told him that he needed to do this, and she again put the paper in front of his face and asked for the missing letter. This time, she said my son slapped her on the forearm, hand area. She said that she told him if he did it again, she was going to have to hold him. So she put the paper in his face again. And of course, he slapped her.

Sharon daVanport: That’s provoking him. She was just asking for him to do it.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah.

Anna Moore: And this is an autism specialist, okay? Mind you.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Anna Moore: I have this in writing. She wrote this in a referral. I can’t even believe it. So then, she did it again. Of course, he slapped her. Now, they’re both sitting on the floor, so [Chuckles] I don’t know how she restrained him. They started, and he started fighting back. Now, keep in mind, this is the third time he’s been attacked.

Tricia Kenney: Oh.

Anna Moore: Apparently, it was just an all-out brawl is what it was. Now, the vice-principal, who I came to know very well and really like and really believe she had my son’s best interests at heart, I’m sitting outside on the benches, and the maintenance guy, he’s driving on the golf cart, and I hear on his radio: “We need assistance with Isaiah Moore. We need assistance with Isaiah Moore.”

And I’m like: “Oh, my God!” I go running into the school, and I’m screaming: “Where is my son?!” And I look to the right of me and I see the behavior analyst in the clinic and she’s washing her arm. So I open up the door; I look on her arm. There’s this huge bite—through the skin, everything. I was like: “Oh, my God!” I’m screaming: “Where is my son?!” And she’s like: “Calm down, Mrs. Moore. Your son is fine.” I said: “Did my son do that?” And she said: “Yeah.” I was freaking out. “That’s not my son!” It’s like, what are you people doing to my kid?

So we start walking back to where my son’s at, and she tells me that she would prefer to go in there and get him to answer the question she wanted him to answer with the missing letter.

Tricia Kenney: God.

[Crosstalk]

Sharon daVanport: Brilliant.

Anna Moore: Because he shouldn’t be rewarded with going home with me.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, God.

Sharon daVanport: Unbelievable. I wouldn’t believe this if I wasn’t hearing it. Unbelievable.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Anna Moore: And I have all this in writing. It’s unbelievable. The vice-principal goes and gets him and brings him out. Immediately, he runs and hugs me, and he thinks he’s going to be in trouble. I’m like: “You’re not in any trouble. Let’s just get out of here.” What my son told me was, when the woman was restraining him, she fell on top of him. And when she fell on top of him—and the vice-principal confirmed this—her forearm went in his mouth, and that’s why he bit her.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Anna Moore: He wasn’t actually trying to bite anybody. She fell on him and her arm went in his mouth, and hell, yeah, he bit her. He was fighting for his life.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Anna Moore: So then again, I get him home. Now he has marks; I’m taking pictures. I again call my pediatrician. So that happened on th 24. My son’s birthday was the next day. He turned eight, and, again, I’m not bringing my kid back here. I don’t believe anything any of them say. Again, because I didn’t know where to turn. Actually, I don’t think I found Phyllis till around this part. I’m sorry; I think I found Phyllis around the third restraining. So I’m not sending my kid back. There’s no way he’s coming back. I had been working with CARD the whole time. I even had CARD come in to the classroom and try to help the teacher with what was going on. I’ve tried everything.

So it’s the 24, that happens. So then, he’s home. I’m not bringing him back. Of course, they’re telling me that I have to bring him back. So I again go in for a meeting. One thing I will say, the behavior analyst he bit, she did say that this child has been traumatized and should not come back to school for any more than 20 or 30 minutes a day. There’s no way you should be putting him in here all day.

[Crosstalk]

Yeah. We go over to the meeting, and we decide on him doing 30 minutes, and it would be in an ESE classroom. Now, Isaiah was always mainstreamed. Towards the middle of the year, when he was starting to show some issues around December is when this started, he was falling behind. So I asked for some more one-on-one reading. So that’s why he was in this classroom, what turned out not to be an ESE teacher. That’s a whole other…[Chuckles] I didn’t find that out till later, either, when I filed my complaints.

So I do again call DCF. I also file a police report. At this point, the police are treating me like my son’s the problem. First it was all on our side; now because he works at the school, he’s listening to everybody else and all the sudden, now it’s my son who’s the problem. I actually sat there for an hour and 20 minutes when I asked for the police officer to come down so I could file a complaint.

I watched him gather everybody involved in what happened to my son, take them in a little room. They all had a discussion long before they brought me in to file my complaint. He wouldn’t even come down at first. He kept telling me, the lady up front, that if I’m not filing an abuse report, he’s not coming down and all of this. So I told the lady: “Let me call my brother. He’s a cop. I’ll be right back.” So I called my brother and he said: “What do you mean they touched him again, Anna-Marie?” I’m like: “Yeah,” and he’s like: “You go right back in there and you tell him he’d better come down now and to bring his camera, because you want pictures.” And tell him, yes you are saying it’s child abuse. So I went back in. Mind you, I’m all by myself. [Chuckles]

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: It’s just me. So I made him come down. They’re treating me like crap. I don’t care. So we go through all that. Ugh. And then, so we [unknown[ 30 minutes, but I asked to be in the classroom and the principal wouldn’t allow me in the classroom. So I sat in the front office. I don’t know why I did this; I just really don’t, other than I didn’t know I had other options. It all happened so fast.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: The last one, which is just the worst. My son is lucky to be alive. He did his 30 minutes and everything went fine. And this is the ridiculousness of the whole thing. He was in his ESE classroom, so it wasn’t in the classroom where everything was happening, where he was urinating on himself.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: So it was really stupid. What are you going to get from 30 minutes in a classroom, where none of anything was going on? So he’s in there for 30 minutes. This is on a Friday. He comes out, everything went fine. Now, this behavior analyst who is observing my son is a man. So he observes him, comes out, says everything went fine. No problems whatever.

So now on Monday, they tell me, before Monday they tell me they want him to do an additional 30 minutes. I said: “It’s too soon. It’s way too soon.” So I told my son: “Listen,” and he did not want to go. I said: “You’re going to do your 30 minutes. They’d like you to do an additional 30 minutes, but if you can’t do it, then you just tell them Mommy’s in the front office and I said that it was okay for you to come home. And he said: “All right.”

So he went, and I’m in the front office, and 30 minutes went by, and then another 30 minutes went by. Now we’re approaching another 30 minutes, and I’m up at the desk, going: “Where’s my son?”

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: And everybody’s looking at each other, and I’m like: “Where is my son?” They’re like: “Hold on, Mrs. Moore. I’ll go find out,” blah, blah, blah. Another 30 minutes goes by.

Sharon daVanport: So you’re an hour and a half past time now?

Anna Moore: An hour and 20 minutes. Yeah, exactly.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, wow.

Anna Moore: I get called into a room. I walk into the room; there’s a cop, there’s the vice-principal and there’s the behavior analyst. Now I’m shaking. I’m saying: “Where’s my son?” I’m screaming: “Where’s my son?” So I sit down, and they’re like: “We’re going to get him. We just want to talk to you,” and I’m like: “No. I want my son now.” So they bring him in, and his nose is beet, beet red and he pulls up the sleeve to his arm and I see all these red marks. And I thought I was going to pass out. [Pause] [Sniffling] I’m sorry.

Sharon daVanport: No; it’s okay.

Tricia Kenney: It’s okay. Take your time.

Anna Moore: So I said: “Go outside, Isaiah, and sit down.” I said: “Mommy’s going to take care of this.” So even the vice-principal’s like [unknown] the guy: “What happened?” And the guy says that Isaiah walked out of class, and as he was coming to the front office where I was, he passed his occupational therapist, and she said: “Isaiah, where are you going?” And Isaiah said: “I’m going home.” And she said: “Well, wait a minute. Let me find out what’s going on.” She didn’t even know what was going on. She said: “Sit down; I’ll be right back.”

So my son sits down. This wasn’t a kid that was running out of class. He was walking, so he told him to sit down. He sat down. So she went inside, and then here comes the behavior analyst. He’s telling my son to go back to class, and my son keeps saying: “My mother said she’s in the front office and I’m allowed to go home.” And he keeps telling him that he needs to get up and go back to class. According to what he wrote, this went on for ten minutes, five or ten minutes. I forget what it was, and it’s [unknown]. But [sighs] in his notes he says my son was having loud vocalizations. My son has Tourette’s. [Chuckles]

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: Of course he was having loud vocalizations. So when my son wouldn’t get up and go back to class, he proceeded to restrain him. Now, I get all of this later, because nobody’s telling me crap in that room. All I got was this guy saying he thinks his watch caused the scratches and the vice-principal said: “If it was your watch, how come he has it on the other arm?” And the guy said he doesn’t know. I asked the guy: “Didn’t you read my son’s file? Didn’t we discuss this?” He’s like: “I don’t have to read your son’s file—behavior’s behavior and you address it the same.”

Sharon daVanport: Oh, my goodness.

Anna Moore: Yeah.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, wow.

Anna Moore: School behavior analysts are scary. And to this day, I’m afraid to tell a parent to ask for a functional behavior assessment.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: That’s a whole world I never knew existed. So I just want to get out of there. The cop’s asking me will I sign a waiver or whatever. I’m like: “I’m not doing anything. I can’t even think right now.” My brain shut down. [Chuckles]

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: [Unknown] that burning sensation up your nose. I thought I was going to pass out. All I could say was: “I can’t believe this.” I kept saying: “I can’t comprehend this right now; I can’t process it. I have to get out of here.” So I took my son, called my pediatrician. He said: “Bring him in here now,” and [pause], and remember I said his nose was red.

I kept asking everybody in the room: “Why is his nose red? What’s wrong with my son’s nose?” And everybody kept saying: “We don’t know; we don’t know.” And the cop is telling me that he heard screaming out on the walkway between the two buildings. Now, this is a gated school, and there’s cameras everywhere. It is a pilot program, okay? It was the only one of its kind, and it was called WOW—Working on the Work program. It was supposed to be a reform for public schools. So there’s cameras everywhere.

Sharon daVanport: That’s a little scary.

Anna Moore: Yeah, but the never caught any of the restraints. So the cop is telling me all he heard was screaming. He was on the second floor; he leaned over and he saw what looked like a father talking to his son. So he didn’t think anything of it. So he’s telling me: “I didn’t see anything inappropriate with your son, but I wasn’t in the room. I just looked over the thing.” This is the stuff I’m getting from these people.

So nobody’ll answer me. So I get to the pediatrician, who then takes his shirt off, and there’s marks everywhere. My pediatrician starts yelling: “Somebody tied something on his arms!” And I’m freaking out, and he just realized he freaked me out, because now I’m screaming: “What do you mean? What do you mean somebody tied something on his arms?” [Tearful pause] And I said: “They’re scratches, right?” And said: “These aren’t scratches. It’s bleeding under the skin.” [Tears]

Sharon daVanport: Oh, my. So they had tied him up, then. Wow.

Anna Moore: No. He used such excessive force that he [unknown] my son’s polo shirt into his skin.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, I see. Okay.

Anna Moore: So the threading on the arm, [unknown] the threading there, it was so tight that caused this bleeding under the skin.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, okay.

Anna Moore: My son could [unknown], and his back and ribs were bruised. He had bleeding under his skin underneath both arms; on top of both arms; underneath his armpits, all the way down. He had a [unknown].

Sharon daVanport: Anna, this was all because, basically, your son was following your instructions.

Anna Moore: Yes.

Sharon daVanport: And he was saying that you told him: “If you’re ready to come home, just let them know and I’ll be in the office.” It was all because of that.

Anna Moore: Yeah.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Anna Moore: And they knew I was in the front office. They knew I was in the front office.

Sharon daVanport: [sighs] Oh, man.

Anna Moore: But the point I want to make is, it wasn’t a kid running out to get to the front office. The OT—

Sharon daVanport: Well, even if a kid was running out, that’s not a reason for restraining and secluding him. It’s just not…my goodness.

Anna Moore: That’s the other point. The school’s gated. It wasn’t like he was running into a parking lot, but he wasn’t even running. He was walking.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Anna Moore: His back, his ribs are bruised. He can’t move his head backward. I get him to a pediatric orthopedic, and it turns out he had a cervical strain.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, my goodness.

Anna Moore: He couldn’t even put his head back [unknown]. My son told me when he could finally talk with me, he said that when he criss-crossed his arms across his face—because, again, I filed a police report, and again I called the abuse hotline. And the guy from the abuse hotline came and my son was showing him how [the behavior analyst] crossed his arms. But when he crossed his arms, he crossed his arms across my son’s face, so my son couldn’t breathe. He said: “My mouth and my nose were covered, Mommy, and I couldn’t breathe.”

Tricia Kenney: Oh.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Anna Moore: We found out his lip was busted also, and my son told me that the cop kept telling my son to quit sucking on his lip. They got him something to clean his face up, because there was blood on his face, before they brought him in to see me. Now, this is the same cop who told me he wasn’t around my son, remember?

Tricia Kenney: Ugh.

Sharon daVanport: Oh. What a cover-up they tried to do. My goodness.

Tricia Kenney: Well, of course they’re going to do that. They don’t want to get sued; they don’t want to get in trouble. How could any person with a brain not know that what happened was wrong?

Sharon daVanport: So that our listeners can understand, Anna, and so we can get to some different options that parents have when it comes to advocating for their child in these situations before it ever gets to this, hopeully, basically, what were you able to successfully do in your son’s case, from all of this that happened?

Anna Moore: I sued them; there was nothing else I could do, but. DCF found that this man abused my child, and the police wouldn’t do anything, and neither would the state’s attorney’s office. But if it was you or I who did this to a child and they found that we abused them [unknown]

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Sharon daVanport: They’d take our children away. [Chuckles]

Anna Moore: Yes, they would, and it’d be front-page news. My son was called “unruly” and things like that. Of course, people that knew us knew that just wasn’t so. So I don’t know. I followed all the right ways. I love CARD; I think they’re great. But when it came down to this, they received funding from the Florida Department of Education, and there’s only so much they can do. When it gets to this point, they can’t help you. That’s just not their function.

Tricia Kenney: So you had to hire an attorney.

Anna Moore: Yes. Because he was injured, they would handle it pro bono. It took me six months to find an attorney. I was beating on everybody’s doors; everybody said no.

Sharon daVanport: No one wanted to touch it, did they? Yeah.

Anna Moore: Nobody wanted to touch it. And at that time, nobody had footage of restraint. I got footage. They told me no, because I knew that it was videotaped. So I educated myself online with Wrightslaw. So they said because of other kids, I couldn’t have the video, and I found out that that’s just not true. Under FERPA law, that video is my son’s educational record if he is in that video, and I have every right to it. So I claimed FERPA law, and they need to follow the law and provide me with the tape. And they did, but of course the only part they gave me, which is on YouTube, is them dragging him from the first restraint area into the little room where more restraint went on. Now, keep in mind, all I have is what my son’s telling me. Nobody else will tell me anything.

Sharon daVanport: You couldn’t get the other stuff? You couldn’t force them to give you the other tape?

Anna Moore: No.

Sharon daVanport: Why is that?

Anna Moore: They said the camera didn’t work.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, of course. [Chuckles] How convenient. Wow. How convenient.

Tricia Kenney: I got the same story from the bus company when my child was tied up. We couldn’t find any definitive footage. I’m like: “Why can’t I see the tape?” and they’re like: “Well, there’s nothing on there to see.” Yeah, these convenient things come up.

Anna Moore: Well, here’s where it gets really weird. I decide I’m going to the cop’s office, because more information came out. I found out this person had multiple DUIs—pretty ironic, a behavior analyst who can’t control his own behavior.

Tricia Kenney: Umhm.

Anna Moore: He got one a month after he hurt my son, and this man was training all people in St. Lucie County—the whole district—to restrain.

Sharon daVanport: And basically was a drunk. Oh, wow.

Anna Moore: Yeah. That’s what I would say.

Sharon daVanport: Well, I don’t mean that loosely. I mean documented. He did some things that were not legal. [Chuckles] You know.

Anna Moore: I’m sorry, but if you get caught four times driving drunk, you drove a whole lot more times than that before you got caught.

Tricia Kenney: Umhm.

Anna Moore: So I get this tape. I come home; I’m scared to play it because I don’t know what I’m going to find on it. So I play it and, sure enough, they cut it so much. You could see where it jumps and jumps.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Anna Moore: It’s an hour and 20 minutes [unknown] that tape. But when my son comes out of that little room, you never see who goes in the room. Just my son and the analyst. Now, when the door opens, here comes all these people: the vice-principal, the head of ESE, the cop. So when I went in his office, I said: “I thought you said you were never around my son.” And he said: “I wasn’t.” I said: “Yes, you were.” And he got up, screaming in my face: “Are you calling me a liar?” and he’s all red.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Anna Moore: I said: “So what? I am calling you a liar.” I said: “Play this.” He played it; his whole face turned red, and he said: “Who gave you this?” and I said: “The school board.” And he said: “Well, let me show you the full tape.” And I said: “Okay.” So he started playing it. They have the full tape.

Sharon daVanport: Oh. So they lied to you about that, too?

Anna Moore: Yeah.

Sharon daVanport: They actually had the full tape. Okay.

Anna Moore: But how do I prove it? How do I prove it? I got another detective to come in, and nobody would do anything. I let my lawyer handle it, and they settled. And I have to tell you, usually school board attorneys are vicious. They chew parents out. This guy either has a grandson or somebody with special needs, because he was nothing but very nice to me. And when they settled and we went in to let the judge sign off…I can’t say how much. That’s the only thing I’m gagged to, but he said: “Mrs. Moore, I just want to tell you that because of what you did, you made a lot of change in St. Lucie County, and I really, really hope that your son is okay and I’m very sorry that that happened.” And I said: “Thank you.”

Sharon daVanport: Whatever happened to the man that was a behavior analyst that you described as couldn’t control his behavior because of the drinking and driving incidents? What happened with that?

Anna Moore: He was never charged. I don’t know if you know this, but the behavior analysts, there’s a site you can go to and you can see who’s certified and who’s not.

Sharon daVanport: Okay.

Anna Moore: And he just never showed up on there. He kept saying he was certified, and so I checked constantly. About ten months after this incident, all the sudden he popped up and he’s certified. So I don’t even believe he was certified at the time.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Anna Moore: And he claimed he was an independent contractor, which nobody told me. But they ended up claiming him, because he wasn’t insured or anything. So I don’t know. From what I know, he’s working at an alternative school, where they put kids that are kicked out of public school.

Sharon daVanport: [Unknown]

Anna Moore: Yes.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, he’s not in public schools, but he’s [unknown] possibly at another one. Oh, wow.

Anna Moore: Right. He said he would never work in St. Lucie County schools again, but I heard that he is at an alternative school. At the depositions—I wanted to be there, and I want [them?] to hear his depo—he tried to mouth to me: “I’m sorry.” And my attorney was like: “You can’t talk to her!” He started freaking out. I couldn’t believe that…Yeah, he tried to say he was sorry, but you almost choked my son. He couldn’t breathe. My son said his eyes started to close and he started to fall over.

Tricia Kenney: Ugh.

Sharon daVanport: Oh. So your attorney was successful? Did they actually settle out of court or did you guys actually have to go through a full trial?

Anna Moore: They settled out of court. After I depoed and the behavior analyst depoed, they pretty much offered up [unknown], they didn’t even deposition my son.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, that’s good. [Unknown] to go through that.

Anna Moore: They didn’t want to put him up against me. And they also said that the other behavior analyst refused to have any part in sticking up for the other one, so she stayed completely out of it.

Sharon daVanport: Really. Wow.

Anna Moore: So it was very weird. Do I have any advice for anybody? I don’t know. I believe I did everything I possibly could, and it still happened. So I just…I don’t know. My son is on the [McKay?] scholarship. Thank God for Florida. I can take whatever money they would’ve given him for public school; I can take that money and go anywhere I want, so he’s in a private school. It’s not a special needs school; it’s just a small, private school. My son is just flourishing.

Tricia Kenney: Oh.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, that’s good, Anna.

Anna Moore: His report card was all As, one B. That’s the best he’s ever gotten. He struggles academically, and this is why my son was abused. [Chuckles]

Sharon daVanport: Oh, wow. Anna, I’m going to let Tricia finish up. Tricia, I was just going to tell Anna, I was just going to excuse myself and let her know that you’re finishing up the show today. I actually have a meeting at my son’s school, so I’ve got to get going early. Tricia’s going to finish up the hour with you, but thank you so much for being our guest today, okay? You guys have a great rest of the show. I’ll talk to you afterwards, Trish.

Tricia Kenney: All right. Thanks, Sharon.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Uh-huh, bye.

Tricia Kenney: Okay, Anna. What I was going to say is: What is the Families Against Restraint and Seclusion? What sort of moves are they making? What sort of progress is going on that people can maybe get involved with?

Anna Moore: Right. What we have is a bill right now, and they just changed the number on us again. So it passed through the House, and right now, it’s sitting at the Senate. What we need to do is get everybody calling and writing their senators, and the bill is S3895 Restraint and Seclusion Keeping All Students Safe Act. And what’s happening right now is they’re trying to change the language to allow restraint and seclusion into the IEP. We have to stop that.

The bill is good; it’s minimal language, but it will override state laws. Right now, Florida passed a horrific state law, so we really need this federal law. But if they put restraint and seclusion into the IEP, it’s not going to be good. It’s not an educational practice; it has no place in the IEP, and they’re actually trying to put it in there. They’ve got all kinds of people from the school’s side calling and pushing for this. We need parents; we need people calling, telling them: “No. Do not put that into the IEP.”

Tricia Kenney: This is not just statewide. This is for the whole country, right?

Anna Moore: Yes, it’s federal.

Tricia Kenney: Okay. Wow. Who is vying for that? Why would anybody think that that’s okay to do? Why would they try to include that in the school system?

Anna Moore: Because they don’t understand. They have the head of the administrators; they have the, they call it FAVA, they’re with the behavior analysts. They’re a national organization, and they’re telling them how aggressive our children are; how teachers are getting injured because of our aggressive, unruly children, and they use that word “unruly.” It just blows my mind. They’re provoking our children, whether intentional or unintentional. They do not know how to work with our children. And disabled children in public schools are being abused because of this. And that’s another thing that the bill would provide. It would provide training. We would have quality people working with our kids.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah, and I think that’s something that really is neglected in the school system, and there are people that are even opposed to it—getting more training in for teachers to deal with special needs students. rAnd that’s so silly to me. The teacher doesn’t want to learn? [Chuckles]

Anna Moore: Right. They don’t. They’re like: “I didn’t sign up for this,” and that’s what I had with my son was the main problem. That she didn’t sign up for this. She was a regular education teacher.

Tricia Kenney: But this is children of all ages, shapes, sizes, learning differences, whatever. This is America, this is the world.

Anna Moore: That’s right.

Tricia Kenney: We should be able to send our children to school without worrying about them being injured or dying.

Anna Moore: That’s right.

Tricia Kenney: I know how scary your situation was, but there’s so many stories out there, where children just never ended up coming back home.

Anna Moore: That’s right. [Unknown] realize how many children have been killed in public school settings.

Tricia Kenney: I know. It’s sickening; it’s absolutely sickening. And for what? Just because they went to school that day.

Anna Moore: That’s right. And my son can talk.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, I know. I know. That’s the scary thing. A lot of us have children who cannot express to us what happened throughout their school day. You ask them every day: “How was school?” They give you the same answer; they never give detail, if they talk at all.

Anna Moore: Yeah.

Tricia Kenney: And it is just, it’s scary to think that all kinds of things could be going on and you have no idea. I know a lot of parents really would like for there to be cameras in the classrooms.

Anna Moore: Yes; yes.

Tricia Kenney: And I think that would be just wonderful, if they were actually….

Anna Moore: It would be good for both of them. It would be great for the teacher, too, who, if she’s not doing nothing wrong, why would you be opposed to it? It would be covering you, also.

Tricia Kenney: Right; right. It’s really tricky, though, because you have to think: Well, what if they know there’s a camera in there, so they take the child to the bathroom to do it, or whatever? So there’s always those kinds of questions, but it’s a start.

Anna Moore: It is. And the problem is, they don’t understand autistic children. They just don’t understand them. They used words like “defiant” on my son, things like that. A child was punished, put in seclusion, because he wouldn’t look the teacher in the eye. An autistic child. [Chuckles] I don’t know.

Tricia Kenney: Unreal. Unreal. I’ve heard just outrageous stories as well, where a child wanted their jacket because they were cold, and they got restrained.

Anna Moore: Yeah; yeah.

Tricia Kenney: And it’s like: What? It’s so utterly ridiculous. How are these people in school systems?

Anna Moore: I know.

Tricia Kenney: How are these people around children?

Anna Moore: [Unknown]

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. Why aren’t there stricter screening processes going on in school systems, so that these people can be weeded out, to lower the chances of children being hurt by them?

Anna Moore: [It seems that?] they want to go back to the old days. They want our kids in a separate school. Yet, our children bring quite a bit of funding into those schools, and they’re using that funding on areas that aren’t for our children. [Chuckles]

Tricia Kenney: Right; right. And they’re not even getting the trade-off that they’re supposed to. They’re supposed to be getting special services, and half the schools lie about that.

Anna Moore: Yeah; yeah.

Tricia Kenney: It’s really, really a big mess. Do you think the bill that’s out there right now would really help change things?

Anna Moore: It’s a start, and it is minimal language, but it’s good language, as long as they do not add restraint and seclusion into the IEP. They don’t realize that parents aren’t on a level playing field when they walk into that room, and it’s you with ten of them. They don’t understand that, and they think: “Well, the parent can decide whether they want it in there or not.” It doesn’t always work that way. Or they’ll tell a parent: “We don’t really use it. It’s just in case, and it’s for his protection.” Who’s going to watch how it’s being used, or how a parent’s being told what it’s for?

Tricia Kenney: Right. Exactly.

Anna Moore: They are their own entity and they’re policing themselves.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. Yeah, that’s not scary at all, is it? We do have a caller, from a [area code]. Hi there, you’re on the air.

Amy Carabello: Hi, it’s Amy Carabello. How are you, Trish?

Tricia Kenney: Hi, Amy. Glad you called in.

Amy Carabello: Hey, no problem. Hi, Anna, how are you?

Anna Moore: Hi, Amy. How are you?

Amy Carabello: All right. I was just calling because I wanted to add to some of the things Anna had mentioned about the bill, the R and S bill that’s on the plate. Right now, a very, very savvy advocate I worked with in the past, he had worked at a residential treatment facility and he was high up in the ranks of management. He said at one point he decided it was time that they train the staff on proper use of R and S, restraint and seclusion, for protective purposes so that they were doing it properly. He said after the employees were trained, the amount and number of people being restrained increased 100 percent.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Amy Carabello: So it’s this tool that when you have it in your back pocket, it gets used. It’s gets used, and it’s not a last resort. It becomes a use for coercion and enforcing rules and things like that. So I think one of the big problems is, when they say: “Well, we can put this in the IEP as long as the team agrees upon it,” they’re really breaking federal law, in a sense. If you look at the facilities that are separate from the school districts, they are not allowed to use restraint and seclusion on mental health patients who are violent in their facility without a doctor overseeing it and so many staff members.Somehow, because the schools aren’t under the medical, they’ve gotten out of having to abide by that law, and there’s been some controversy over whether or not that’s even legal.

Anna Moore: Yeah.

Tricia Kenney: Wow. Well, I don’t think it should be legal in any way, shape, or form. I still don’t understand why anyone else on the planet would have a legal right to touch my child. I just don’t get that. I don’t understand why there’s any conversation going on about it. Isn’t it cut and dry? Don’t touch my child.

Anna Moore: It’s actually for imminent danger, and that’s not what it’s being used for. It’s being used as first response.

Amy Carabello: And we have to really think about the fact that if a mental health residential facility or a short-term facility for people who have very significant mental health issues, presumably, are not allowed to use restraint or seclusion as a means to calm their patients when they’re very violent, why is it that school districts are allowed to use it on children who don’t necessarily have this level of issue? And so that’s where everybody turns their cheek, and it is a mentality problem.

Anna Moore: Yeah.

Amy Carabello: And when it comes down to the employees, what I’ve found and I’m sure, Anna, you’ve found is, well, it’s not always the teachers. It’s not always the aides. They’re implementing it, but they’re being instructed to do so by the administrators. And so it’s not a screening problem, so much as it is a mentality problem. I hate to say this, but a lot of times our administrators are burnt out teachers who have gone back to school and decided to become administrators. So they’re old-school. They’re thinking: “Back in my day, if a kid acted like that, we got out the paddle, and we’re not allowed to do that anymore. So now what we’ll do is this.”

And so you are seeing them use these treatments for things such as noncompliance, as with our case. I don’t know the level of details of what went on with my son, but my son was in restraints and seclusion almost every day of first grade for half a year, and they weren’t documenting it, so it didn’t happen. [Chuckles]

Anna Moore: Nice.

Amy Carabello: So that’s part of the problem is just the whole mentality of the entire district, all the way up to the school board.

Tricia Kenney: Wow. So what happened with your school district, Anna? Do they implement restraint and seclusion at all anymore? Do they do that at all? Did that change?

Anna Moore: I’m sure they do. The people at the school where my son was said: “Seclusion doesn’t happen anymore.” They said: “That’s illegal.” Meanwhile, there are schools that have it. Are they still using it? Personally, I don’t know, but I’d have to say, probably. I know they have a lot of schools that are now Positive Behavior Support schools. They received the training, which is free, by the way. Nobody understands why they’re not bringing this in and using it.

So I don’t know. I’m out of that school system. I was told that they did make a lot of changes based on what happened to my son, and I would have to assume that they have made those changes. There are good people in there.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah.

Anna Moore: But it’s just very wrong, what happened.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, definitely. And Amy, as well. I know you went through some horrific things with your school system. Did anything happen in your school system? Have they improved? Have they stopped doing those practices? Are they better now?

Amy Carabello: Again, like Anna said, we unfortunately in Pennsylvania don’t have as many protections legally when something goes wrong like this in the school district. The police won’t touch that. They don’t consider that their jurisdiction, and there’s been a lot of problems with even trying to go to federal court on this, because federal court makes us go through the due process. I call it “fake school court.” [Chuckles]

Anna Moore: Yeah.

Amy Carabello: Unfortunately at the time, there were no laws in Pennsylvania at all against restraint and seclusion. The school hadn’t documented anything, so it was our word against theirs. We did have a couple of witnesses who unfortunately were not forthcoming until after we pulled him out of the school. We would’ve had a little more information and probably would’ve pulled him out a lot sooner.

But the school district denied it up until the pre-conference hearing, which again, was just school court. It was our attorneys, the administrator and us. Basically the administrator continued to lie until I called her to the plate and got her [Laughter] feathers ruffled, and then she finally said: “What would you have us do instead?” And my attorney looked at her and said: “Do you mean to tell me that you’re saying that…” in our son’s case, it was two adults sitting on him in a prone restraint.

Anna Moore: Mm.

Amy Carabello: They sat on the floor, and we know that that happened more than once. We don’t know how many times. I think that I have documented somewhere back in my history about 20 or 30 times, but there’s more, I’m sure. She just looked blank and then her attorney looked at me and said: “What can we do to fix this?” I said: “Go back in time.” So basically, they settled because they knew we had witnesses. They knew that we would win in a due process case, which then, after due process, we would be able to take it to federal court. We were so wiped out from all of it we settled with them, and again, like Anna, I can’t disclose the terms of the settlement agreement, which is the monetary end of it. That’s the only thing I’m gagged on, so I made sure that in our agreement I was able to talk about what happened.

Anna Moore: Yeah, me too.

Amy Carabello: The school district still denies that they’ve ever done this, so whether or not it’s happening now or not, most everybody I know who has a child in that school has pulled them out. But it’s almost more than just a district problem in our area. We have these little sub special education groups called intermediate units in Pennsylvania that are supposed to be the oversight, and they’re supposed to do the training and assistance for the school district. Really what they’ve turned out to be is they create they’re own segregated, self-contained environments and then get kickbacks from the school districts for tuition and all this crazy stuff.

So basically what the school districts want to do is move all these kids into special needs classrooms where they’re completely segregated from everything. They don’t get any involvement in the schools, and they’re not being taught. They’re just babysitting.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Amy Carabello: So most of the kids in our area are in those classrooms. Those that are “included,” if they’re the kind that are the quiet kids that go [unknown] themselves, they muddle through. The kids that have a little bit of explosive behavior, they’re getting kicked out or they’re being pulled out by their parents and homeschooled.

Tricia Kenney: Wow. Do we have any numbers about how many states in the United States do have laws about restraint and seclusion? Do either of you know?

Amy Carabello: I know that there are numbers somewhere. I’m thinking even if you go to the Government Accountability Office. Anna, I’m not sure if you know, but I think they do have some numbers and statistics, and some of it’s changed. We had some revisions done to the Pennsylvania special education code a few years ago, and during that time period there was a coalition that got together and got at least some language put in regarding restraint and seclusion. But again, it only outlawed prone [restraint], and it also allowed for it to be written into the IEP. So it’s just a fluff at this point, because we don’t have any compliance or oversight, so nobody is checking to make sure that schools are following these rules.

Tricia Kenney: Right. Wow. Well, thank you so much for calling in, Amy.

Amy Carabello: No problem.

Tricia Kenney: I do appreciate your input on this, and I know it’s a subject that touches so many of us in the autism community. It’s really tragic, how many of us have had to deal with this on some level. I’m glad your son’s doing better, and Anna’s son as well. And my son’s doing better, too. [Chuckles] I had to pull him out of school, too. It’s unreal. All we want is an education; all we want is for them to be included in a classroom like any other child, and to get an education. I don’t see why it has to be so hard. And then these kids get scarred from it, they get damaged, and how much time is lost? How much of their learning process is disturbed because of this?

Anna Moore: My son still has nightmares.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. It’s so, so sick, because these are real lives that are forever damaged.

Anna Moore: Yes.

Amy Carabello: I think Anna could probably tell you, too. My son’s IQ scores dropped [Chuckles] during that time frame, because of the trauma. Now we’ve established that that was post-traumatic stress disorder, but it affects them in every aspect. We’re still deprogramming this. It happened to us in 2005 through the beginning of 2007, and we’re still deprogramming it now.

Anna Moore: Yeah. It’ll be baggage they carry. My son started eating excessively. He put on 40 pounds in three months.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Anna Moore: We would wake up and his [unknown] would be full of bowls and dishes. He would wake up at night, stay up and just eat.

Tricia Kenney: Aw. And that affects his health, too.

Anna Moore: Yeah. Yeah.

Tricia Kenney: Ah, just so many long-term issues to deal with. But I do really appreciate you both being here with me today. Amy, again, thank you for the input. So we know Pennsylvania has an issue to deal with. We know Florida, they’re working on stuff. Missouri has no laws right now against restraint and seclusion, and granted, it’s 2010. There shouldn’t have to be. But it is an issue, and it’s affecting a lot of people. So I hope that people do call their legislators and put their voice in. Even if you don’t have a special needs child, this could happen to anybody.

Anna Moore: Yes. There is a group, Trisha, in [Calvin-Lucher?] that do have a toll free hotline number that they’ve put out for no restraint, no seclusion. That’s if you would like to put that out there.

Tricia Kenney: Yes, please do tell us.

Anna Moore: Again, it’s Trisha in [Calvin-Lucher?], their website is OurChildrenLeftBehind.com. The hotline phone number is 1-877-622-5176.

Tricia Kenney: Okay. Well, thank you so much for that, Anna. Get involved; make some phone calls. It doesn’t take up your whole day. It can mean the difference between life and death for a child, and it could be your child. It could be anybody’s child. This is just outrageous that it’s happening in this time, but it is, and it needs to stop. It’s not just something that happens to really disruptive kids. It happens to kids who ask for a different pencil. It happens to kids who just are overwhelmed and can’t deal with the work. Maybe they’re sick, like Anna’ son was, and instead of being cared for, they’re hurt. No child should have to deal with that. No child should have to endure that.

So again, thank you both so much for being with us today. I really appreciate it, and good luck with everything you’re doing and we’ll certainly keep fighting for this.

Anna Moore: Thank you.

Amy Carabello: Thanks. Umhm. Bye-bye.

Tricia Kenney: Bye-bye.

Anna Moore: Bye-bye.

[Amy and Anna hang up].

Tricia Kenney: Okay. Well, thank you for joining us today, everyone. A really important topic. Again, please get involved. This involves every school. Whether you think you’re in a good school district or not, it could be happening in your school and you may not be aware of it. So find out; get involved and help protect the children, if you can. We will be joining you again next week. We’re having a show on gender and sexuality and autism, so please join us for that. It should be an interesting topic. It’s making a lot of headlines lately, and a really good discussion for us to be having. So please join us then, and take care, and God bless. Bye-bye.

[End]

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