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Mistreatment of California student may lead to litigation

Schools here in California are required by law to provide students with special needs with access to a proper education. Failing to do so can result in litigation that may provide a student and their family with compensation if the school is found to have broken the law. Some people know this because they are frequent readers of our blog while others are aware of this fact because of stories they see in the news.

One such news story out of Fresno is not only illustrating the wrong way a school should handle a child with special needs but what can happen when this failure is brought to the attention of law enforcement agencies.

The case we are referring to is the one of the 7-year-old girl whose school had constructed a makeshift cage for the girl in her first-grade classroom. The girl, who suffers from a seizure disorder and requires special education, was found in the cage one day back in May by her mother who had made a surprise visit to her daughter's classroom.

Although police were sent to the school and an investigation into the incident was conducted, no charges have been filed at this time nor has anyone been arrested for the alleged case of child abuse. It's also unknown if this incident will force the state to make any decisions about funding or if this could lead to the termination of the special education teacher believed to be responsible for the makeshift cage.

What is known at this time is that the girl's mother has obtained legal counsel and has filed two claims against the school's administrators as well as the teacher. These lawsuits likely will seek compensation for the mistreatment of the girl, though it's unknown what damages are being sought or how much.

Although this case shows mistreatment at its extreme, it's important for our readers to know that any mistreatment of a special needs student -- whether it's denying them the assistance they need to obtain a proper education or expelling them for unjustifiable reasons -- should not occur in our state and can result in litigation. This can then lead to compensation for the student and their parents. Getting the right legal representation is key though as they can tell you if you have a case or not against the school and its administrators.

Source: The Cal Coast News, "California teacher accused of caging special ed student," Nov. 10, 2014

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