A Kentucky mother got the shock of her life when she went to pick up her autistic son from school. Wanting to teach him a lesson for apparently misbehaving Christopher Baker was stuffed in a large green bag not by fellow school children as one naturally think but by school workers instead.
Attending a school for children with special needs Sandra Baker has yet to find out how long her son was actually in the bag for when she finally turned up to pick him up at the behest of school officials but reasons it couldn’t have been longer than 20 minutes.
When she did collect her son Ms Baker was told school officials had no other choice (really?) but to put him in what is known as the ‘therapy bag.’
To date the school’s actions have led to the signing of a petition for the forced resignation of the school workers involved. Responds Lydia Brown, herself an 18 year old autistic student attending Georgetown University who started the petition and which can be followed at change.org: ‘That would not be wrong just for an autistic student. That would be wrong to do to anyone,’
Which stands to reason, but perhaps an equally compelling thought comes courtesy of Landon Bryce, a former teacher who blogs about issues regarding autism:
‘A lot of the damage that we do to students with all kinds of disabilities is by treating them as though they deserve to be treated in a way that’s different from other people’.
But perhaps to highlight the irrational treatment of children like Christopher Baker comes the following:
dailymail.co.uk: In Kentucky, there are no laws on using restraint or seclusion in public schools, according to documents on the state Department of Education’s website.
A July letter from the state agency to special education directors said the state had investigated two informal complaints this year.
In one, ‘a student [was] nearly asphyxiated while being restrained’.
In the other, a student vomited from panic attacks after spending most of an academic year ‘confined to a closet, with no ventilation or outside source of light,’ according to the letter.
Which begs the following questions? Doesn’t such treatment of disadvantaged children translate to child abuse, perhaps even if they weren’t even afflicted? After all children sometimes do misbehave but what are we saying about education and the way children are put up through the school system when they are being dealt with in a way that one would be loathe to do to a neighboring fox that dropped by and ate one of the farmer’s hens?
Furthermore the dismal treatment of such a child says very little about the training given at the school nor about the state of Kentucky which has yet to strike such overt mistreatment of children, effectively excusing it- which is a telling sign of the state’s attitude towards afflicted children and the reckless attitude of teachers who think they are immune from being dealt with as they ought to be. Looks like who ought to be punished is not the alleged misbehaving boy but the school workers, the school and the state which co-opts such appalling practices.