Abuse of Child with a Disability at School

From time to time, I receive phone calls and emails from parents of children with disabilities concerning reports of physical abuse of their child at school.  Alarmingly, this is occurring more frequently at public schools.  http://See http://www.crchealth.com/youth-programs/children-disabilities-abused-public-school-classrooms/. There is a compelling reason for the parents to be very alarmed when they hear their child may have been physically abused at school. A parent may have options, however, to address the physical abuse your their child. If your child has been physically abused at school it should trigger an investigation by the school.  When the investigation is completed, administrations must notify the parents. If the physical abuse is disability related, a parent has certain rights to pursue a claim against the school system. I have previously posted information on disability related discrimination on my website.

Another type of physical abuse of your child  occurs when an educator physically grabs, pushes, or other abuses him or her.  If your child is nonverbal and unable to communicate, you may not learn of such abuse.   For example, if your child comes home from school with unexplained scratches, cuts, and physical marks  then you should consult with your child’s pediatrician.  A competent medical professional can tell the difference between ordinary bumps and bruises a child may incur at school.   In the event that your pediatrician determines that your child has incurred physical abuse at school your have several options.

First, you can contact the Principal or Assistant Principal at the school and discuss the matter with that administrator.   If there is evidence a  teacher inappropriately physically harmed your child, you can file a complaint with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC).  The commission determines if there is probable cause to believe the educator violated the Georgia Code of Ethics.  If so, the educator may be disciplined by the PSC.  A parent may consider a civil action against the educator for assault or battery. These type of actions are difficult to bring against educators. This is because there may be no direct evidence of the educator’s abuse.  Another reason is educators may be protected against such lawsuits by certain immunities.   In the event you have questions concerning alleged physical abuse of your child with a disability, you should contact a special education lawyer  for advise.