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2020 Child Injury

Special Needs Children Need Extra Care – Not Abuse – in School

School should be a safe place for your child, but often, it isn’t. If your child has special needs, he or she faces many additional challenges, including one that no child should ever face: an increased risk of being abused.

It’s a sobering fact that vulnerable children are three times as likely to be abused. As many as one in three children with an identified disability will be the victim of some type of mistreatment, whether neglect, physical abuse, verbal abuse, or sexual abuse. Studies have shown that those with behavior issues are more likely to suffer physical abuse; those with verbal impairments are more likely to be neglected.

Why Are Disabled Children Being Mistreated in Schools?

The Government Accounting Office delivered a shocking report to the Congressional Committee on Labor and Education, detailing the mistreatment of special needs children in public schools. Dr. Allan Schwarz, a licensed clinical social worker, and certified psychoanalyst wrote an article online discussing why this is happening.

Federal legislation for disabled children attempts to place them in the “least restrictive environment,” so schools often put them in regular classrooms. However, many children with autism, learning and intellectual disabilities, and behavior problems tend to act out, disrupting the class, and regular teachers aren’t trained to deal with it. This is also true in special education classrooms that are overfilled. In their attempts to “discipline” children and regain control, teachers and aides have tied disabled children down, handcuffed them, put them in solitary confinement, and ridiculed them. Several deaths and serious injuries have been attributed to this treatment—for example, one 14-year-old boy died after a 230-pound teacher sat on him to restrain him.