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SummerRose SummerRose is offline
 
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Special ed. Students have more rights than teachers
Old 08-28-2019, 07:29 PM
 
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What rights if any do I have as a teacher? I was hit in the stomach by a student today and Iím 6 months pregnant. The principal sent the student home for the day, but is allowed back tomorrow. It seems so unfair. The doctor recommended I take the day off tomorrow and the district is making me use my sick days to do it? So let me get this straight the district places this student in my classroom knowing heís violent, and that Iím pregnant. I have voiced my concerns that he may hit me since day one and he finally gets the chance to do it because we were short staffed and I have to use my sick days to take off because he hits me?!? They also know his mother plays with his medication and keeps things he likes at home so that it will set him off in school. Today she did not medicate him and sent him to school without his crayons which immediately set him off. He is a 15 year old with super strength as he like to workout with weights. I find it so unfair the district is acting like itís not a big deal and refusing to move him to a center based school where he belongs. The most my union recommended was to switch positions and they would expedite the move. It seems like I should have more rights, maybe a lawyer should be involved. Iím so lost as to what Iím supposed to do because my district is so unhelpful. If I wouldíve lost my baby what would they have said? ďSorry got your lossĒ?? Itís complete bull#### and Iím tired of districts running scared just because the parent has an advocate. So what as a teacher I deserve to be safe in my classroom.


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I don't understand
Old 08-28-2019, 07:32 PM
 
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Why you haven't yet contacted an aggressive lawyer who will stand up for you!
Did you read the responses to your previous post? Lots of good advice there.
Please consider your and your baby's safety.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:34 PM
 
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This is exactly why I quit the SPED field. You're literally treated like garbage.



Time to lawyer up and report this to OSHA.
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:15 AM
 
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Do not go back!

Your baby is in danger in that room. Call in sick, lawyer up, quit, whatever it takes.
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:32 AM
 
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Day off. Did the doctor put that recommendation in writing? If he did, here it would be a workman's compensation day. However, if the doctor orally suggested it, they regard it as a suggestion and it's sick time here. If it's in writing, contact your union and they may be able to get it changed.


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Old 08-29-2019, 03:44 AM
 
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I had a co worker in a similar, not the same, situation. It was at the elementary position and the child kicked, punched and stabbed with scissors. The principal explains to me that the child is going to be transferred to my classroom because I am not pregnant and she wants to protect the pregnant teacher.

WHAT?

I asked her, the principal, f I needed to get pregnant to get equal protection. I did not want to get kicked, punched, or stabbed with scissors either. My safety is just as important as someone who happens to be pregnant. I signed the contract also indicating I was physically capable of handling the things that might come my way on the job. But no one wants to get physically hurt by the children we want to help, protect, and teach.

She did not know how to respond back to me. I told her that instead of explaining it the way she did to me, she should have said that inventions were attempted without success in the other classroom and now it was suggested that the student be moved into another classroom as another invention to attempt. And the principal should have butter coated it with, the district is hiring a one-on-one associate to help work with this student in your classroom. NOT.

But no, it took over a month to get help. I asked for help, begged the district to hire an associate before someone got hurt, and a good thing I had it documented in writing. I requested an update meeting on her IEP to discuss changes that needed to be change and that never seemed to get done. Too busy or it would take a while to get enough data before a meeting could be set up.

Meanwhile, I worked hard protecting the other students from this student's aggression, without much support. I set up seating arrangements, I distanced her seating out of arms length of others, so this child was not sitting near others to make it more difficult for the child to reach out and kick, punch, and stab others with scissors, a sharp pencil or whatever she could grab to hurt another student.

But that was undone and I was forced by the special education teacher to seat her near others. iI could not single this child out was the rationale.

After placing the child next to another student at a table, that is when she grabbed another student's scissors (she did not have easy access to her own scissors) and she stabbed the other child in her hand. Scissors went into the other child's hand. The blade stunk in the back of that other child's hand, and they were blunt ended scissors! I immediately directed the class to line up and go to the the next classroom (class was trained to do this) and I asked my most trusted student to go to the office to get help immediately (before we had phones in the classroom) and I attended the stabbed child placing my body between the injuried child and the other child who now had a sharp pencil and was stabbing me in my butt with it. I managed to pull a chair between me and her so she could not reach me with the pencil while stabilize the scissors and provide pressure to the wound to decrease the bleeding. By then, the school nurse and principal were running into my classroom to help.

After that incident, the school district hired a one-on-one associate to help. And I got to place this child at a distance from other children without being charged of singling this one student out by doing so. Common sense is also needed. This child, I think, returned to my room the next day even before the associate was hired. They sent the Librarian to my room and closed the library, no library classes until associate was hired full time.

My butt took a long time to heal. Hurt to sit down. Thank goodness I was not pregnant at the time. Not with child- that made me dispensable.

The other child who was stabbed recovered, parents were angry. The district transferred this child, moved this well behaved child, to my co workers classroom. And I got to work in fear with my associate with the child who hurts others until the end of the year.

No apologizes nothing. No one even offered to kiss my ouches!
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Advocate for yourself with the doctor-
Old 08-29-2019, 03:53 AM
 
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Pester that doctor to get something in writing that you can use to protect yourself and take to a lawyer.

We have managed healthcare here (yuck), and you must be pushy and whiny to get what you need. For instance- you still don't feel well today, so you go back to the doctor and be clear that if something happens to you or your baby it's on the doctor for sending you back into a dangerous situation.

Then- you have the power to work on the district with your lawyer.
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Old 08-29-2019, 08:28 AM
 
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You must have a pretty wimpy union but if it were me, I would take them up on expediting a switch to a different position. It might not be a bad idea to consult your own lawyer but I don't know if there's a lot they could do. If, God forbid, you lost your baby due to an assault by a student, "Sorry for your loss" is pretty much all you'd get.

I completely agree that it's ridiculous that teachers can't expect to be safe in their classrooms, that students can assault them and face no consequences if they have an IEP, that teachers can't fight back when they're being assaulted by a student. I think it's beyond ridiculous that SPED students and their parents have so many rights that they pretty much run the school. And then they wonder why there's a teacher shortage and why special ed teachers, in particular, are in short supply.

I went through my teacher training so many years ago that I don't really know how much young education majors are taught about school law and their lack of rights when they are in college and can still change their minds about a teaching career.
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Old 08-29-2019, 08:43 AM
 
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Time to lawyer up and report this to OSHA.
Schools are expected to be OSHA compliant but OSHA doesn't actually have any jurisdiction over public schools or any other state or local government employees. I'd love to find out differently, but as far as I'm aware your union is your only recourse if you are facing a safety issue that doesn't affect students. (Sorry misspelled your user name.)
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Yep
Old 08-29-2019, 08:48 AM
 
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Yeah most districts donít give a &&&& about teacher safety. I like the idea of pushing for a doctor note to recommend leave. Your and your babyís safety come first.

I worked as an aide in a moderate/severe classroom while I was going through my credential program. I loved most of the students but I could NOT hang with the violent ones. I had zero patience for it. One extremely violent child was enough to convince me that moderate/severe was not at all what I wanted. Please keep us posted. You have a supportive community here. <3


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I tried to Google it..
Old 08-29-2019, 08:48 AM
 
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but I have a short attention span and didn't read the entire lengthy articles about it. I can not see how being physically attacked while in a classroom that ended with you having to see a doctor and then told to return without any anew procedures to protect you in the future does not make for a hostile work environment. Time to fight the crazy idea that teachers have no right to their own personal safety.
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:24 AM
 
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Time to fight the crazy idea that teachers have no right to their own personal safety.
Well, good luck with that. If you are dealing with ASD students, their violent behavior is clearly being caused by their disorder and thus can't be used as a reason to remove them from whatever has been determined to be their least restrictive environment. Any union or lawyer dealing with this situation is going up against IDEA and Section 504. In my opinion, it's a case of well-intentioned legislation having some unintended and downright dangerous consequences.

A few states have laws requiring employers to provide accommodations for pregnant employees so that might be a reason to consult a personal lawyer. If that were the case, though, probably the administration and union would be aware of it and would be more helpful.
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Update
Old 08-29-2019, 10:09 AM
 
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We had the meeting today and I took the day off as recommended by my doctor, but I went to the meeting to ensure my voice was heard. Basically all that came out of the meeting was give the student everything he wants when he asks for it even if that means masturbating in school. They arenít removing him from my classroom and they are acting like everything that happened with my baby and I wasnít a big deal. Iím in contact with a lawyer my union is useless and Iím feeling like I need to quit at this point.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:16 AM
 
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Please, if you haven't already done so file a police report and follow through with what happens. Do thus every time this student is violent.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:45 AM
 
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I'm glad you are in contact with a lawyer. Did he/she give you advice about filing a police report?
From what I hear on the news when a student is harmed by another student, more gets done when an actual police report is filed.

Seems like all teachers have the right to teach without being physically harmed. The fact that you are pregnant should have moved your admin/district to be more proactive in protecting you from this student.

Keep us posted!
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Lawyer?
Old 08-29-2019, 12:03 PM
 
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Everyone who is telling me to get a lawyer I spoke with one. Since Iím ďokayĒ there is nothing they can do. If I wouldíve lost my baby then that would be a different story. So basically in order for anything to be done a fatal outcome wouldíve had to be the result.. yea Iíd rather work at target.

Last edited by SummerRose; 08-30-2019 at 06:50 AM..
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I agree with the police report
Old 08-29-2019, 01:10 PM
 
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that was assault and battery, not an accident and not a melt down. If not just for you and the little nugget, then for all the staff that is also at risk. If a report is already documented, then the next staff member, and yes with the let him do anything he wants there will be one, will have a better chance of having the administration actually do something.
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:12 PM
 
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We have a strong union here and when this situation has occurred in the past -- violent student hitting a pregnant woman in the stomach -- they usually offer to move the teacher, not the student. You might seriously consider that. I would just ask for some assurance that you could get your original position back for the next school year.
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As a Last Resort ...
Old 08-29-2019, 03:22 PM
 
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Maybe the media should be contacted. If the attorney can't really do anything and the union can't do much, find someone (not you) to contact the media with the story.
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:11 PM
 
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File a battery charge against the student.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:25 PM
 
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In CA you have a right to suspend a child from your own classroom for two days for reasons of physical safety. Many teachers don't know this. This is true even if your principal doesn't want it. The principal must then figure out somewhere to put them for those two days. This may be true in your state and is worth checking into. It makes a point and inconveniences others, who often aren't that invested until it affects them. Best wishes to you!
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:56 PM
 
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If heís 15, Iíd file a police report much like others have suggested.
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Awful situation
Old 08-30-2019, 01:13 AM
 
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If this fifteen year old boy exhibited the same behaviors out in public as he does in school (assaulting people and masturbating in full view of others), he would be arrested. How does allowing him to behave so badly prepare him for when he leaves school? We harm students when we don't teach them that violent and sexually inappropriate actions are unacceptable and may have very serious consequences. Outside of school no one will care that he has an IEP.

I hope you contact the police, as others have suggested. It seems even prison guards have more rights to defend themselves than teachers these days. Ridiculous!
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violent student
Old 08-30-2019, 03:25 AM
 
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If this fifteen year old boy exhibited the same behaviors out in public as he does in school (assaulting people and masturbating in full view of others), he would be arrested. How does allowing him to behave so badly prepare him for when he leaves school? We harm students when we don't teach them that violent and sexually inappropriate actions are unacceptable and may have very serious consequences. Outside of school no one will care that he has an IEP.
Absolutely!!

And were the student's parents at this meeting? Did they actually have to look to in the eye and say it was OK for their son to put your baby at risk?
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Old 08-30-2019, 05:01 AM
 
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The law talks about least restrictive and appropriate placement. Many educators
and administrators have forgotten the appropriate word .
Teachers need to stop their enabling behaviors in these poor classroom situations. File charges against the student.
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Parents are a joke
Old 08-30-2019, 06:40 AM
 
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The parents were at this meeting and the mother said “ I’m concerned he hit you because he doesn’t really hit at home”. “I can’t believe he did that”. I said well he did hit me and it’s not acceptable. She looked like she was irritated, how do you have the nerve to be mad at anything being said about your aggressive son.. it’s the truth. She also said she’s upset were making him out to be a “monster”.. bitch I don’t care if the shoe fits. That’s currently his behavior and you aren’t giving him the proper medication to control his behavior. It’s upsetting that the most so called administration can tell me to do is give into him even if that means masturbation or stealing items from other classmates?!??!! I am truly disgusted and done with this district. Teachers are not safe in their own classrooms, I see why the turnover rate is so high with teachers. This is only my 4th year and was supposed to be a better move since I went through hell at my last position! Ive wanted to quit since I started teaching, but stayed with the advice of it will get better blah blah bull####. It’s not getting better and if the shoe was on the other foot and I punched this student in the stomach I would be labeled a monster, thrown in jail and plastered all over the news.
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Old 08-30-2019, 08:37 AM
 
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Oh my gosh! I hope you do quit for the safety of your baby and yourself. No one should put up with this.
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Go to the board
Old 08-30-2019, 09:53 AM
 
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and ask for help in an open meeting. Do not name the school or student just ask for help with being placed in dangerous working conditions. Explain what happened and the recommendations of the meeting. Pregnant or not, being stabbed is dangerous. "District liability" is your magic key to having them pay attention and do something.

Many school board meetings are carried on community broadcasts and there is often a reporter present so that there will be more likelihood of follow-up.

They will likely ask that personnel matters be considered in private which is why you do not identify anyone by name or location. Boards are often insulated from direct knowledge of dangers and liabilities.

Be prepared for pushback from administration. Since you are seriously considering quitting anyway, you'll be doing a service for other teachers. Often being a whistleblower will offer some protections, check with your lawyer about this.

Also see about collecting unemployment benefits so that you quit in such a way to increase the likelihood to collect benefits to pay your COBRA so you'll be covered during your pregnancy.
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Old 08-30-2019, 12:04 PM
 
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OMG, throughout the years, THIS has been THE absolute worst situation I've ever read or known of that a teacher has had to go through (pregnant or not)! The educational system has gone to pot!

Just like how someone has to die for them to change things in the streets, like adding a street sign, for example, I guess the same has to happen here for anything to happen. A teacher shouldn't have to wear body armour to work. Don;t get me wrong, kicked anywhere on the body is bad, but what if that kid had kicked you hard in the breast or head and you were sore for days?! Horrendous situation.

I agree with Lakeside for sure and glad you contacted a lawyer! Please continue to keep us posted!
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Old 08-30-2019, 01:51 PM
 
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I can't possibly believe they would let a kid masturbate in class! Do the parents of other kids in class know about this? Who would want their child sitting next to him? It could be considered sexual harassment.
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My advice
Old 08-30-2019, 04:16 PM
 
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1. Take the less-physical position offered by the union. Use your sick days until the move is made. Your baby is at high risk in your current position. That is the most important thing right now.


2. Spend this school year applying for sped positions in other districts. I'm not sure what your licenses are, but focus on Sped Resource and Inclusion positions. There's much less chance you will be dealing with extreme behavior or heavy lifting.
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Terrible
Old 08-30-2019, 09:22 PM
 
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Being injured while pregnant must have been scary. I'm so sorry. I have to agree with the chorus that says look after yourself and your baby first and worry about being right second.

And you ARE right. No doubt in my mind. But you're not going to win the fight to have the student removed, and I hate to think of your health or your child's life being in jeopardy to prove a point we all (here) acknowledge readily.

This has come up before. School staff assaulted by students. School staff injured by students with special needs.

Here's how it was explained by my old district's lawyer. According the law as it currently exists in most states:

1. A student can't be punished for an injurious action - no matter how severe - if a reasonable case can be made that it resulted from his or her disability. Full stop.

2. A student has the right to an education.

3. Teaching is a "helping profession" serving a potentially vulnerable population and therefore falls under the category of professions in which the "duty of care" (in this case to the student) supersedes the employee's traditional right to a safe workplace. In other words, the case can be made (not by me, mind you) that we assume a certain amount of personal risk when we accept a position in teaching students with special needs. They see us as being comparable to firefighters, paramedics, psychiatric nurses, social workers, etc. They believe reasonable steps should be taken to reduce the risk of harm to us, but ultimately, they expect us to accept that a certain amount of personal risk is unavoidable. For example, while hospital protocols are in place to protect psych nurses from the actions of a schizophrenic patient with a history of violence, it's assumed the nurse understands that those protocols can never guarantee a zero per cent chance of his or her being injured by a violent patient. The nurse has a duty of care to the patient. School districts have held that teachers, and especially teachers of students with high needs, fall into a similar category. We have a duty of care to students that means we (to a certain extent) abnegate our workplace safety guarantees when we accept the job. Personally, I don't buy this, but that's how it's been argued, and some courts have been sympathetic to the argument.

So basically, yeah, it sucks. And the erosion of teachers' basic rights to a safe workplace should concern us all and incline all of us to protest to those who make our laws. But my concern right now would be for the safety of yourself and your baby. I doubt these issues will be fully resolved in my lifetime.
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:39 AM
 
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Can you press charges for assault? In my last year of teaching, I had a boy placed in my gen ed classroom (6th grade) and he was scary. Never physically attacked me, but would yell at me. He was big, too, because he was 2 years older than the rest of the kids. Anyway, I found out I had no rights at all unless and until he actually did something physical to me. He was eventually moved to a self-contained middle school placement, but it was hell for a couple of months. I feel for you. I'd quit or accept a move to a different position. Protect your baby and yourself. They don't care what happens to you. No wonder there is a teacher shortage.
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:50 AM
 
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Do not rely on the district lawyer advice ever. Get your own lawyer. The student is not in an"appropriate" setting.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:31 AM
 
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If this fifteen year old boy exhibited the same behaviors out in public as he does in school (assaulting people and masturbating in full view of others), he would be arrested.
Probably. But I don't know how long that will be true. There's a pretty strong push right now to require that police officers get special training in dealing with ASD people and that the criminal justice system treat them differently, especially when it comes to sexual crimes. I honestly don't know what the answer is. But I don't believe that the increasingly prevalent "just let them do what they want" approach in schools is going to help anybody in the long run.
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Leave vs maternity leave
Old 09-01-2019, 05:55 PM
 
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I would love to take a leave until they (administration) decides when they want to move me to another position. Iíve applied for every open position including gen.ed and still have not heard anything. Despite the promise of an expedited move. The problem with taking a leave is that I need my leave days for maternity leave. I donít have many days and I would have to use my sick days for leave as well as for maternity leave. Once the days run out I stop getting paid. With a new baby I need a way to support myself. Iím looking at work from home jobs, but I had no idea I would be in this position stressed about work and money, when all of these ďdegreesĒ were supposed to ensure I would never have to worry about being employed or where money would be coming from.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:19 PM
 
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Are you going to press charges? If not, why not? I ask because I've never been in this situation before and I like to say/think I'd press charges, but...one never knows until they are in that precise situation.

Keep us posted and thinking of you!
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:24 PM
 
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Contact a lawyer AND your union AND the school board AND the police AND the news media.
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Canít press charges
Old 09-02-2019, 08:34 AM
 
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I canít press charges because this was a special needs student. According to the law, idea and section 504, this students aggressive and violent behavior was caused by his ďdisabilityĒ legally there is nothing I can do. I have spoken with several lawyers and the outcome was always the same. If I wouldíve been gravely hurt, broken bones, bruises etc, they couldíve done something. Even though it was terrifying and it couldíve been horribly worse it wasnít. My baby thank god was ok and so was I. Although Iím highly frustrated I feel stuck because there is absolutely nothing I can do. He and his parents have way more rights than I do in this situation and no one wants to move the student out of my room and they are dragging their feet with switching my position. The paras in my room want to quit and so do I. Itís ridiculous that this is what the school system has come to. I canít effectively do my job and itís unfair to the other students in the classroom.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:23 AM
 
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Woah, what a mess, can't press charges?! You AND all the paras in the room should ALL agree to quit on the SAME DAY, that will fix them! Leave the madness and mayhem to them to figure out.

I assume you're married? Can your husband work more and/or get extra jobs somehow so you don't have to work or at least work a much safer job? Can your parents (and/or your husband's parents/family) help give you guys money? If you're close with them, I'm sure they hate hearing that their soon-to-be grandchild is in horrendous danger and you'd think they'd care enough to want you out of there. If I was in this position, my parents would have had me quit for sure and helped me out while I find out financially what to do next.

Being a substitute or something is still better than this because it's flexible. What WAH (work at home) jobs are you looking for? VIPKid, etc.?
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:45 AM
 
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You need to leave. Even if you weren't pregnant, it isn't safe, but you are at more risk since you are pregnant. I agree with the above poster about quitting and subbing until you are ready to go back full-time.
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Old 09-02-2019, 12:41 PM
 
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In this sort of situation, I have found that things only change when the other parents get involved (and go straight to the top administration to complain or threaten lawsuits on behalf of their kids). I'm not kidding, is there a way to hint to the other parents about what is going on in the classroom?
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:06 AM
 
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Last year I had a student who was very threatening -- even had on a tracking device on his ankle because he was on probation. It took him choking a student in his math class two times before he was removed from our school. It took the mother of the child being choked (the 2nd time) pressing charges. Had the parent not gotten involved, I doubt he would have been removed from the school. I believe he violated his probation and was probably placed in a facility.
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