by: Roxanna Asgarian
In a lawsuit, the boy’s family said he was repeatedly suspended, secluded, and violently restrained before he was ever given a special education evaluation.
A Pittsburgh family says their 7-year-old boy who was acting out at school was physically abused, secluded in a room multiple times, and handcuffed by the school police.
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court last year alleges that the 7-year-old, referred to in court documents as D.C., was involved in a series of escalating incidents at Pittsburgh Liberty K-5 between 2015 and 2017, starting in kindergarten and continuing through first grade. His mother, Armani Turner, was called into the school repeatedly, and secured therapy outside of school for the boy, who has since been diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. But at school, D.C. wasn’t given a special education evaluation that would have provided him with additional support, including an aide and sensory breaks, according to the lawsuit.
Instead, according to the lawsuit, he was repeatedly punished. As his behaviors escalated from leaving his seat in class to walking out of the classroom, screaming and lashing out at teachers, and throwing furniture at school, D.C. was physically assaulted by staff, repeatedly suspended, and secluded in a room alone. The boy’s family also alleges that in the Pittsburgh school system, Black boys receive the harshest punishments without getting access to the supports and protections that a special education designation would provide.
On Jan. 15, attorneys for D.C. filed an amended complaint, a class action lawsuit on behalf of D.C. and students with disabilities or those who should be identified as such “who have been or will be unlawfully handcuffed or restrained by school police officers or District personnel in Pittsburgh Public Schools.”
(read more at theappeal.org)