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A Young Boy's Story

Provided by a parent, verbatim.


Chance is high functioning autistic child with strong obsessive/compulsive and oppositional/defiant traits. He attended the district ran preschool, and though we were frequently talked to about his issues, we were never offered any services (he finally got speech provided the last 6 months of the year before he started kindergarten). He started kindergarten at our home school and had problems from day 1. They were not equipped to handle him, but the process to move him to a school that was, took almost 2 months. During that time, they put him on ½ days saying the state didn’t mandate all day kindergarten though it was the district standard. We were still quite clueless at that point, so we didn’t fight it.

He was finally sent to the districts cognitive development program at a different elementary. His kindergarten year went alright there we thought (we know better now) and there was actually attempts to have Chance in the regular education classroom on a schedule. His first grade year started out great, and he was able to be in the regular ed room more than the self contained, but after about 6 weeks something happened and he quickly went back to regular ed only on schedule with a 1 on 1 para and lots of restraints. We never did figure out what caused his change in behavior.

His second grade year started and we quickly realized nothing had changed and he was headed for another year of restraint and seclusion. To make it worse, they had moved some kids around and that left him the only child in his sped classroom who was verbal. When we finally made them realize that was part of the problem they decided he needed a different program (probably glad to be rid of us!) We were sent to tour the districts Behavior Program at Westridge Elementary. When we saw the behavior program, we were introduced to “time out rooms” which were about 3x4 closets in the classroom with a small window on the door. They explained to us these were used to “break” the kids of their problem behavior and someone as strong willed as Chance could expect to be in one a lot at first til they established who was in charge. The room was full of kids who were eerily quite, and we got bad vibes while there. So, after going home and researching the use of seclusion in autism I let them know that all current peer reviewed research said it was not effective, and could possible do long term damage and we were not going to allow the use of the booths. We were told that was fine, but Chance COULD NOT attend the districts behavior program because the use of those booths were central to the plan there. If the other kids saw he didn’t have to go, it would confuse them and such.

We then found ourselves sent to the Alternative School, which is used in the upper grades for kids that probably should have been expelled, but cant be, and in the lower grades it was used to house kids like Chance who they couldn’t figure out what to do with. He quickly went from the elementary classroom to 1 on 1 with a para in a “resource room” having worksheets shoved in his face til a response was provoked and then restraint followed. They even put him in their “time out room” once despite the fact I had verbally talked to everyone there about it and it WAS in his IEP (worthless piece of paper in this district). We rode out the end of the 2nd grade year there on ½ days (less stress on him they said) and hoped for a new beginning the next fall as the Alternative School was moving to a new building with a new administration and all.

This past fall we showed up to register Chance at the new Alternative School for 3rd grade, and quickly realized not only had nothing changed, it was probably going to be worse. There was a seclusion booth installed in the elementary room of this brand new program. I was forced to sign paperwork that stated even though I refused to allow them to use the booth on my child, they would do so anyways if he was having issues and they couldn’t get a hold of me. So basically we were told he could come so long as he was good, if not I had to come pick him up, or they would put him in the booth. We were floored, and being exhausted from 3 years of fighting with them (we both worked for the district, I was a tech manager, my wife was and still is a teacher) we looked elsewhere and found MoVIP which is the Missouri Virtual Program, ran by MODESE and it is a perfect fit for Chance (though it takes full time parental involvement, so I had to quit my job).

Basically, this district still operates under what I call the “Consistency til Compliance” method of dealing with kids like Chance. They think by consistently apply the same rules to every kid, eventually the kid will comply. This methodology leads to a lot of restraint (Chance would be restrained multiple times a day, often every day for weeks). Chance would frequently come home with rug burns, scratches, and bruises. He would occasionally hurt a staff member in restraint (usually a bite, indicates the staff member didn’t know how to restrain) and he has been suspended several times for that (they’re not into the whole “manifestation” thing…..) He has been denied access to multiple district programs (including the schools before school day care) based solely on his disability. We have taken complaints all the way to the school board who opted to listen to a misguided lawyer rather than do what was right or legal for that matter. Another family we deal with took the day care issue to the OCR, and over 2 years later the district is still trying to find ways to not comply with OCR rulings.

Everyday he went to school he was in danger of being hurt or worse (the district still practices/trains prone restraint). We made the only decision we felt we could for our sons safety and well being.

Kevin and Charlsie Prosser


District Information:

Assessed Valuation: $695,553,258
Total Enrollment: 8848

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