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What can we do?
Old 12-04-2019, 11:45 PM
 
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Signed out for obvious reasons.

I have a student with high functioning autism who is robbing the other 28 4th graders in my class of an education. When any demands are placed upon him he throws massive tantrums which are always disruptive and sometimes involve destruction of property or aggression. He has bitten and hit his 1:1, spit at me, and threatened other children. To avoid the tantrums we’ve settled into a pattern of essentially letting him do whatever he pleases and rewarding him for every 15 minutes he does not necessitate a room clear. However, it’s impossible to never ask him to do anything, and we have to deal with the inevitable tantrums. Today he had a meltdown because his 1:1 refused to get up and sharpen his pencil for him, and we had to evacuate the other students (luckily it was a few minutes before recess) and stand by and watch while he tore up my classroom. At one point he picked my laptop up off my desk and slammed it on the ground. Amazingly it only sustained a small crack and is working just fine. No one is allowed to restrain him unless he injures himself or others - and even then it is discouraged. We cannot stop him from smashing computers. We cannot physically force him to go to timeout or stay in from recess, so we are unable to discipline him in any way. My P will not suspend him.

This is an outrageous situation. He is not getting any sort of education (as is his legal right), even though he is cognitively above average - gifted, I’d say. My other students’ education is continually disrupted and they feel unsafe at school. His para and I are being assaulted. No one is winning here. The saddest part of all this is that I have heard many similar stories here on PT. What can we, as teachers, do to improve working conditions for ourselves and learning conditions for our students? My state has a weak union, but it honestly doesn’t seem like the situation is much better in strong union states such as California.


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That's miserable
Old 12-05-2019, 11:20 AM
 
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I worked at a California State Hospital on a locked autism ward for six years. We had multiple trained staff to respond to acts of aggression and still some of us were injured at various times. We also had emergency chemical restraints/meds available during violent episodes administered by a staff RN.

You are on your own without administrative support.

I am astonished that parents are not camped out in the principal's and superintendent's offices demanding protection for their children.

This article may offer a few mild suggestions, but will at least give you the knowledge that you are not alone (don't even know how helpful that information is.)

https://www.weareteachers.com/studen...PhT_xDQI_RK3ik

This may be a place to start asking questions of an outside agency. For client read student. If you do report to OSHA, you get whistleblower protection from being fired.
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/

This might be of interest to administration:
https://www.lexology.com/library/det...c-841c896c4b91
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I would be asking for "parent volunteers"
Old 12-05-2019, 11:32 AM
 
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for any reason you can think up, an art project, career day, science project, etc.

Let a few parents witness this crap and you should get some action.

Also, review your school and district policies and educational codes. If his behavior is violating any of them, document immediately and copy everyone up to Betsy Devos. This is outrageous and should not be allowed to continue.
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Sorry
Old 12-05-2019, 01:54 PM
 
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He doesn't sound high functioning to me at all. He should not be in a regular classroom setting with that kind of behavior.

I would contact your union for guidance.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:10 PM
 
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I think I have a close relative of your student. Mine is not diagnosed but has similiar behaviors. I do not have a one on one aide because our county did away with that a while ago. It is me and the sped teacher for the inclusion class. Take my advice with a grain of salt.....we are slowly making progress. Parents are not really supportive (send him to school without glasses, homework, bookbag, lunch, etc at times) and don't always follow through with what we have agreed on in meetings with them at school. I usually don't involve the office because they are hopeless. They keep him for 5 minutes and send him back because he is too disruptive in the office and they can't work
What is working is holding him to the same expectations as everyone else. (I do stagger what he has to do and allow a 5 minute/1 chapter reading break when he is really upset). I also give him a "cool down" or quiet spot to get himself together. I do talk to him like a 2 year old most days. I find when I use a harsher tone he tends to stop. That seems to shut it down fairly quickly. We use qr codes to track behavior and do online reports to notice patterns. He has a visual schedule to help him see the sequence of classes.
Sometimes, watching the clock is helpful so he can visually track how long he has left before he goes home. I put a number from 1 - 10 in his planner each day. He is working for a 10 and actually got one today - that means not meltdowns/fits. He still has meltdowns but rarely howls, throws things, and rolls around on the floor crying. I do struggle with how this affects the other students - I have really changed my teaching/activities to accomidate one child. Games are pretty much off the table unless he is absent. I hope you get some help with your student soon. There were days I went home shell shocked at the beginning of year because I don't think I have ever had such a severe behavior problem in a regular ed classroom.


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Old 12-05-2019, 04:30 PM
 
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I don't think this is about weak unions, I think this is about weakly enforced special educations laws. It does not sound like the student is making progress and that means that it is not the least restrictive environment for him. Properly enforced special education laws would solve this issue to everyones benefit. Instead a kid with a significant disability gets dumped into regular ed and is being blamed for it not working. Tragedy all around.
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Old 12-05-2019, 05:02 PM
 
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A few years ago I literally had the exact same scenario in my classroom. The student was gifted, autistic and would fly into rages upon being asked to do any thing, large or small. He would throw scissors at me, throw books at me, slap and scratch his aide, tear the room apart, throw his desk across the room, etc. Once he kicked a teacher and ripped off her toenail.

What did we do about it? Absolutely nothing. Our special ed teacher tried for 2 months to get him into a self-contained program, but our P vetoed it every time. She said we were "kicking him out of school." Our special ed teacher literally quit mid-year because she was so disgusted with the P.

It was a year from hell and the only thing that got me through it were my fabulous coworkers and how sweet the other children were.

I, too, didn't understand how the parents were okay with this behavior. Then the student went into a tantrum in the after-school program, which forced them to evacuate as parents were arriving to pick up kids. One of my parents came down to my room, really upset. She told me she had watched through the gym window as he tore things apart and attacked the staff (one person walked out with a black eye). She told me her daughter had complained about the kid, but that she thought her daughter was exaggerating. Now she knew how bad it really was. She called downtown, but nothing really happened.

That was 3rd grade. By 5th grade he was sending our school into regular lockdowns.

By 6th grade they finally got him homebound.

I don't know why the hell it took all those years. Because it's not like people in admin didn't know what was happening. They just chose not to do anything about it.

It is ridiculous and unfair to everyone. I'm sorry you have to go through it too. I wish I had advice for you, but I don't, except to say, you only have to make it until the spring.
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Old 12-05-2019, 05:13 PM
 
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Seriously nothing will change until parents complain. You need parent helpers in your room on a regular basis. Until admin hear it from angry parents nothing will change. You need a few on your side who are willing to take this up the chain of command.
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Old 12-05-2019, 05:33 PM
 
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We have had multiple students over the last couple of years in regular ed classes - without one on one aides. When parents called our "service center" to complain because their students were frightened, not getting an education, being evacuated from classrooms while said student(s) were destroying classrooms, hallway displays, etc - and staff's hands were tied... had to stand and WATCH said student(s) destroy other people's possessions and hard work.... They were told this student had a right to an education, too.

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Old 12-05-2019, 07:09 PM
 
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And how is it preparing the autistic child for real life to allow him to attack others? Once he is 18, he will be arrested for that behavior.


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Old 12-05-2019, 07:10 PM
 
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If you are in CA may I suggest following ed code reporting the assaults to the police and seeing if that at least gets someones attention.

Quote:
EDUCATION CODE - EDC
TITLE 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION [33000 - 64100] ( Title 2 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
DIVISION 3. LOCAL ADMINISTRATION [35000 - 45460] ( Division 3 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
PART 25. EMPLOYEES [44000 - 45460] ( Part 25 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
CHAPTER 1. Employees [44000 - 44114] ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [44000 - 44020] ( Article 1 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )

44014.
(a) Whenever any employee of a school district or of the office of a county superintendent of schools is attacked, assaulted, or physically threatened by any pupil, it shall be the duty of the employee, and the duty of any person under whose direction or supervision the employee is employed in the public school system who has knowledge of the incident, to promptly report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement authorities of the county or city in which the incident occurred. Failure to make the report shall be an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(b) Compliance with school district governing board procedures relating to the reporting of, or facilitation of reporting of, the incidents specified in subdivision (a) shall not exempt a person under a duty to make the report prescribed by subdivision (a) from making the report.

(c) A member of the governing board of a school district, a county superintendent of schools, or an employee of any school district or the office of any county superintendent of schools, shall not directly or indirectly inhibit or impede the making of the report prescribed by subdivision (a) by a person under a duty to make the report. An act to inhibit or impede the making of a report shall be an infraction, and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(d) Neither the governing board of a school district, a member of the governing board, a county superintendent of schools, nor an employee of a school district or of the office of any county superintendent of schools shall impose any sanctions against a person under a duty to make the report prescribed by subdivision (a) for making the report.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 17, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1997.)
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:30 PM
 
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I told one of my students (ASD) who raised his hand to hit me “If you hit me, I will make 4 phone calls. First the police, then the office. Followed by a call to my husband and then to the union. I guarantee that it will not turn out well for you”. He immediately dropped his arm. I said the exact same thing every time he tried it. He knew I wasn’t BSing.

My P and the union also know my stance. I will file charges.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:45 AM
 
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As Teddi's post indicates, these students can control themselves. They just choose not to because they know they can get away with it. My job does not include being assaulted or having my items destroyed. That is not part of teaching. Every time this student had a meltdown, I would be calling the police. If he destroyed ANYTHING of mine, if he hurt my other students or me, the police would be hearing about it.

I'm so tired of the old, "This student has a right to an education too," response. When he's an adult, no one will be saying, "This man has a right to freedom," if he's injuring other people and their property.

Teachers need to start standing up for themselves.
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Thank you, Kinderkr4zy!
Old 12-06-2019, 09:40 AM
 
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When teachers are physically attacked by students, they need to call the police and file a report. Every single time. Teachers MUST stand up for themselves. Only then will the madness end.

Teddi9192, that is a GREAT way to let students (and your admin) know their actions (or lack of action)have consequences. Good for you!!
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:49 AM
 
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I think the best thing to do is to find a way for the parents to know what is going on. Admin won't listen to teachers, but they will listen to parents. I've been in a similar situation and it took half the year to have the placement changed to a self-contained classroom. Document, document, document.
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Inclusion
Old 12-08-2019, 11:08 AM
 
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I am an advocate for inclusion in the right situations for the right students. It does not sound like this is currently the right place for this student for long amounts of time. I would ask to have an IEP as soon as possible. Bring your data and advocate that this student receive time in your room for a short time and working into longer times as behavior improves. You are not able to reach this child academically until the behavior is under control.

His special ed teacher will need to set strong parameters and scheduling as most students with Autism struggle with the unknown. If you can have a visual schedule somewhere in the room that would be helpful as well and then maybe saying things like, “Class, you have 5 minutes to finish up before we move on to X”. The problem is that you can’t do this until the kiddo can be in your class effectively. If student starts to escalate, the para needs to try and remove them as quickly as possible. Do you know if there has been a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) done for the child? This would help in determining the antecedent of a behavior.

I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. Talk to the sped teacher right away to get some things changed. Bring all your data and anecdotal notes relating to this student to help the team make the right decisions for this student.
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I am sorry you are dealing with this.
Old 12-08-2019, 02:12 PM
 
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It is very wrong for all kids involved, as well as for you. I wish I truly knew the answer of how to change this. I have experienced something close, but not as extreme.
The student needs to be moved to a small classroom with a teacher trained to help him. Also, you and the rest of your class need that too.
I do not know why P's are so reluctant to help in these situations other than they are afraid of getting sued or the district penalizes them for asking for a new placement.
Where I am police intervention would not work. In some areas , it might. I was just told to document everything for the next yr's teacher. The kid is still in a classroom, doing the same things, and the teacher is still documenting. The only difference is the kid is bigger and worse now.
The 1 good thing that came out of that year was I decided I did not want to deal with it anymore. It gave me the incentive to start saving money like a madman.
I am now in a position that I could quit at anytime if needed. It is a good feeling to know I will never have to tolerate a situation like that again.
If you can financially afford repercussions, go over your P's head. ( I didn't have the $ when it happened to me.) Parents can help too IF the admin does not try to blame you. That happens all too often. I wish you the best. <3
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