Every time I see a story in which a special needs child is abused by educators in the name of discipline, my first reaction is disbelief that someone could be so ignorant and so cruel. But as these stories continue to come in from schools across the country, it's clear that plenty of people are, and this recent case out of Indiana is an extreme yet prime example.
According to RTV6, Nate Searcy went to meet his 8-year-old daughter Shaylyn, who has Down Syndrome, from the bus earlier this week. He saw her limping, and she told him her feet hurt. When he bent down to see what was wrong, he saw that there was duct tape wrapped around both her shoes and ankles. "She couldn't even walk," he told the station.
I imagine the many horrible scenarios that he must have thought of involving cruel kids. But what happened was, in some ways, even worse, as it appears to have been done by educators.
While the school won't comment on what happened or who taped her feet, the bus driver said she had to be pushed out to the bus in a wheel chair. So clearly someone in charge knew this had been done.
Searcy said he took his daughter back to the school to get to the bottom of it, and it took 30 minutes for the principal to remove the tape. Furthermore, he said it was so tight that Shaylyn's circulation was cut off, and she was left with bruises.
Her parents say that Shaylyn has had some discipline problems, but that in the past teachers have worked with them to get her to cooperate. Mom, Elizabeth Searcy, told the station:
They've called me before because she won't get her shoes on or she won't stand up and walk to the bus and had fits. And I've talked to her on the phone with the teacher, and she's got up and she's got on that bus. I don't know why today was any different.
I'm home before they get home from school. There's no reason why I couldn't go get her, if it was such an issue.
There's no reason that anyone should ever resort to something like this to discipline any child, much less one with special needs who may be scared and confused by it all. It sounds like nothing short of abuse.
I don't doubt that special needs teachers have challenging jobs. In fact, I think that people who choose to go into that line of work are some of the most compassionate and giving people around, and most of them are amazing. So it's especially infuriating when people abuse that role and mistreat these innocent children. There's always got to be a better way than to do something like this.
Can you see any way in which duct taping a child's feet for discipline would be okay?
Image via RTV6