Teacher Bully: All Schools in Wisconsin

TEACHER BULLY: All Schools in Wisconsin.
September 23, 2022

Is it equal for special education students? Disabled students face a lot of challenges. Bullying, timeout, seclusion, and restraint.

What’s in the news?

September 22, 2022.
Restrained: State reports thousands of cases in Wisconsin schools
by WISC-TV Fresno, Madison, Wisconsin, Morgan Murphy Media

What’s the story?

WISC-TV Madison, Wisconsin did a story about seclusion and restraint in the state’s schools. I found it on YouTube.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction reported 4,949 incidents of restraint in 2021, and 4,344 incidents of seclusion. More than 80 percent involved disabled students, up a few points from 2020. The data is broken down, and includes all of the schools in the state.

A DPI staff member is quoted, saying that restraint and seclusion can only be used when student behavior presents a risk to safety.

2019 Wisconsin Act 118 requires districts to report data to the DPI.

The DPI staff member says that the experience can stay through the student’s K-12 experience.

WISC-TV interviewed Nora Rabel, a 16-year old autistic/Down syndrome. Video shows staff dragging her through hallways.

Staff claim that Nora would “lash out” at staff members, noting that she would spit, kick, hit and attempt to bite.

Her father is quoted about not being told the truth and believes the school staff went too far.

Joanne Juhnke is quoted as saying that the ideal approach would involve not letting situations get to the point of seclusion and restraint in the first place. She is a disability rights advocate. She told WISC-TV that she wants it outlawed but there are situations where restraint is necessary. She says that there are also many systemic failures.

A member of the teacher’s union serving Madison schools says that educational support professionals are the lowest paid in the school district. Employees are retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target are paid more.

The union member says that there needs to be training in de-escalation, but they don’t want a top down program, but a grassroots movement.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a co-sponsor of the Keep All Students Safe Act, declined to be interviewed by WISC-TV. The station reports that it’s been in a committee since last summer.

Included in the story?

Yes. Both a 16-year old student and p the disability advocate ((not all disability advocates are disabled).

COMMENTARY:

Is this the Least Restrictive Environment?

Seclusion and restraint, as well as timeout (not mentioned in the story), are primarily used on disabled students.

What needs to change?

Episode 102 of the podcast I Survived Special Education: Not A Joke covers the Keep All Students Safe Act. It is titled “Solitary Confinement”.

To summarize, it specifically excludes timeout, which is defined as being placed in solitary confinement for behavior, which is not locked. Legally speaking, seclusion has a lock, and timeout doesn’t.

This is an example of why:

The system must change, without excuses.

1. School: Why are educational support professionals paid so little, but given so much power?
2. State: What is the state government using the data for?
3. School: What caused R to Rabel “lash out” against staff members? Did she “lash out” against students, too?
4. State: Why isn’t the state doing anything about it? They have the right to ban it on its own, and enforce it.
5. Congress: The original report, as I discuss in episode 102 of the podcast, discussed how big the problem is at the national level. As I pointed out in the podcast, it’s been re-introduced every Congressional term and doesn’t go behind the introduction and committee phase
6. Why only focus on the disabled student’s behavior? The last Teacher Bully post is about a Fresno elementary school principal who shoved an autistic 10 year old in the cafeteria. Other than the student, what caused the principal’s behavior?