Lawsuit: Wayne Twp. teacher severed finger of student with special needs

An attorney for a Wayne Township elementary school student is suing the district over a severed finger.

The student, who has special needs, was reportedly locked in an isolation room last year when she became frustrated during a Math class.

The suit alleges a staff member slammed the girls hand in a metal door, severing the girl’s finger.

The girl’s father said the heavy metal door looks like something out of a prison or a third world nation.

He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

43 comments

    • Mir

      you'd be surprised what you'd see on the cameras. Don't be shocked when you see teachers and teachers aides being thrown around, hit, kicked, spit on and etc.

      The problem is a two way street and schools need to be able to handle their students and their special needs. Most schools have no idea how to handle situations that spiral out of control – especially if a student or teacher becomes violent against one another.

      • Cathy

        I agree. What was the special need? What was the plan for this child for the times they are out of control? Teachers are limited in resourses; physical resources and human resources. With cut after cut, staff is at a bare bone. And sometimes, following the safest plans lead to injury when a child is out of control. Two sides to every story and perhaps its time for an increased level of care for this child.

    • What???

      Children with severe special needs should not be in a public school. They are a disruption and a distraction. Teachers are not trained to deal with all that craziness. They are trained to teach. I'm sure behavior at her home is terrific?????

    • areyouserious2

      Tara, you are so right. But the politicians will say that they don't want to put too much governement in the schools. I believe in second chances, but this one, not sure it would be worth the risk.

  • jeppyk

    Whenever your child enters a school, ask if they have an isolation or "calm down" room. Tell them it is NEVER to be used for your child!
    This poor child!!!

    • redshere

      I can reply because this is happening everyday. They treat our special needs children the way they do, because some of them cannot tell what is going on. My grandson shows his frustration by hitting. I know why he does it, and his teacher knows why he does it, but they don't care. But I can tell you this if they ever sit him in a "quiet" room are strap him to a chair, and I find out on one of my secret visitsI will be going to jail. They are suppose to be trained to deal with their behaviors and if they can't leave the profession. All Parents of special needs children should show up at the school unannounced to see what is going on. Once the teacher finds out you are sending your school to learn and not for them to babysit, they will change their attitude.

  • Sandy Roberson

    I have a special needs child. I THANK GOD that she was born in 1972, when "special schools" were still available. She graduated from special school in 1990, the year they began mainstreaming the kids into regular schools. I told the school that my daughter was not going to be the (hopefully) few examples of the bad things that could happen, and they were not allowed to even consider moving her, or I would remove her from school completely. She is still with me, my best buddy, keeps me young, and will turn 41 this August. Not every child can be mainstreamed. Apparently, this does not matter to the Indiana Dept. of Education.

  • Emery

    I work in a special needs classroom and I have seen my fair share of "frustration" from some of my kids. There HAS NEVER been one minute that I ever considered doing anything to the children that would hurt them, physically OR emotionally. Special needs kids are exactly that. They are really amazing kids that need to be treated with special care, and if you are a person who can't handle everything that comes along with these awesome children, then you shouldn't be working with them. This is not the first time I have read about the absolutely despicable behavior of a teacher, or trusted adult, who has hurt or emotionally scarred a child with special needs. I know I don't know the whole story, but I have enough experience working with these kids to know that unstable behaviors is a pretty typical expression from a special needs child and often their only way of communicating. You deal with it. You figure it out. You DO NOT hurt them.

    • Ms.NickiD

      Hi Emery, As a special needs teacher what is your opinion of cameras in special needs classrooms ? I would like to hear it from a teachers point of view. Thank you for your years of service caring for our most special children

      • martinstucky

        Who gives a crap about the teachers point of view when they are damaging our children? Who is more important here? Where should the priority be placed on protecting overpaid and under worked teachers or on the safety of the children?

  • Get Real!

    How can every single one of you jump to the conclusion that the teacher did this intentionally from a FIVE SENTENCE story?? How can you come to ANY conclusion with that little information? Isn't there a remote possibility that this was an accident? Possibly the "frustrated" student (agitated or aggressive, more likely) lunged for the door as it was closing and got her hand caught?

    Seriously folks, please exercise just a TOUCH of academia and do at least a LITTLE research….. There is almost certainly a lot more to this story than can be encompassed by information barely constituting one paragraph.

    • Youdontknowjack

      If you had the ability to exercise "just a touch of academia" yourself, or knew two bits about this subject them you would know that no one is *jumping* to conclusions. Things like this and much worse are happening to special needs students, children who are non verbal and function at a preschool level, everyday! If you have ever worked in any capacity for a length of time in a school you would be disgusted with some of the things that adults get away with doing to students. As an elementary teacher, special ed teacher, and mother of a special needs child I will be the first to tell you that the fact the girls finger was severed, while horrible, is secondary to the fact she should have NEVER been placed in isolation period! Every doctor, specialist, behavior therapist, experts in the field of special needs education will tell you that restraint and isolation do not do anything to help the situation or child; and in fact usually causes much more damage. It is a misnomer that all special needs children are "inclusive" in the schools or that general ed schools are the only available placement… There are many different options for the education of special needs students; they can be taught at home with a tutor and therapy services provided there, they can go to a special school (there are schools for developmental special needs; as well as emotional behavioral disorders). Yet schools will not send students there unless knowledgeable educated parents fight for it, sometimes to the point of getting a lawyer; even when the student is aggressive, a flight risk, dangerous, or hard to control. Why? Because schools get a lot more money for a special needs kid on an IEP than they do for a typical kid. They don't want to loose that money so they won't place a student anywhere else.

    • agreed.

      This is partially Fox 59's fault. The stories they write on here are always vague at best and never well written. Maybe they should take more time to report the news and provide more information.

    • riff

      All that being said, even if the child was "out of control" is the only answer to put them in an isolation room and establish a fear of confinement? And if the child had "lunged" at the door, the person shutting the door would have to have an impressive amount of force behind it to cut off a finger. I've had my finger caught in a door before and it certainly hurt but was not severed.

  • Absolutely Disgusted

    I have a daughter that went to a "Special School" in Wayne Township and I totally was against the staff putting my daughter in their " Behaviorial Room" this room was padded on all walls and has a little window to see thru and has a big steel door with no handles except on the outside of it and it was automatically locked with magnetic force and they would romove the kids' socks and shoes so they couldn't harm themselves… They put children in these "Behaviorial Rooms" for hours at a time so they don't have to worry about them or put up with them… How do they get away this form of NEGLECT when if a parent was to do this at home to their child they would be arrested for it….My daughter still is afraid to be in a room by herself with the doors closed she will be 24 years old. I think these so called "Behaviorial Rooms' should not be allowed in our schools..If a child is out of control then call the parents, don't take it upon themselves to NEGLECT these special needs children.

  • Lawrence

    No, we should arm the teachers. Guns in schools, especially in the hands of people who whine about money and how tough their job is. So tough they can only work 150 days a year.

  • Lawrence

    My comment above was sarcasm. No teacher should be armed, and half of them need to be fired because of the test scores.. The bigger question is why is this just now coming out? This happened, according to the article, last year.

    • Redshere

      It is just coming out because the schools try to keep it undercover. If the parent had not sued the School system it would still be undercover.

    • Lu Plonski

      it could've been 4 months ago.. it would still be last year. It was on the news before this.. this was an article announcing the lawsuit being filed.. which would explain why very little information is posted at this time.

  • joyce

    My granddaughter is a "special needs" child also. She was abused by teachers,emt. and the police at her school, in West Virginia. She had fallen to the ground crying wanting her mother. Instead of the teacher calling her mother or me, she decides to call an ambulance and the police. My granddaughter is 10years old. She said the police officer sat on her legs leaned over in her face talking to her. She became extremely terrified as the officer sat on her. My granddaughter was sexually molested when she was 6yrs old, she thought something bad was going to happen to her, she began screaming, and crying, begging the officer to get off her. The officer finally gets off her, then the emt starts draging her to the ambulance, which caused her pants to be drug completely off her body. She does'nt wear underwear, therefor her "private area" was exposed. She was put into the ambulance, tied her arms to the strecther and given a shot of liquid valium. When her mother and i were finally notified that my granddaughter had to be taken to the hospital as the ignorant teacher put it "your daughter was out of control" we had to call the police and emt. My granddaughter was overdosed on the liquid valium and had scratches,dirt and even small rocks in her "private area". She had scratches all over her back and a big bruise forming on her arm. She was tied to the bed at the hospital. She is now terrified to go to school. My daughter had to place her in a different school, but still every day is a battle to get her to go to school. The so-called teacher is still a teacher. There desperately needs to be a " special school" and teachers who actually have a heart and desire to teach " special needs" children. We definetely do not need monsters teaching our children. And for an emt worker and police officer" to act in such a violent way, they need to find a different job, because they are suppose to be there to help not hurt someone.

  • ClanSmokeJaguar

    Define "special needs?"

    Again, I'm not jerking my knee at half-baked reporting. There's more to this story than it appears.

  • Why

    Why do they even have an "isolation room" at an elementary school?? If you can't deal with the special needs kids why are you teaching there in the first place. Just for a paycheck?

    • DeeDee75

      Isolation rooms are sometimes necessary in special needs schools. These rooms should be safe and free of anything that they can harm themselves with. If you have a child acting out in the classroom, they're disrupting the entire class and sometimes other special needs kids will mimmick the behavior of other students. It's like a domino effect and before you know it, the entire class will be in an uproar and no one will learn anything. Since some special needs kids have problems controling their actions (depending on their condition), its sometimes necessary to isolate them from the others for a short period of time until they calm down. This also keeps them from harming other students, again depending on the situation.

  • DeeDee75

    I have worked with special needs teenagers who were physically aggressive. Honestly, if you're not in total control of your own emotions, you should find another profession. They will definitely test your patience – every day, all day. Even if this was not done intentionally, it's apparent that the "teacher" was not careful when handling this child that was acting out. Even when the situation is elevated, caution has to be taken because that is when injuries are likely to occur. She was supposed to make sure the child was not close to the door before she closed it. This is exactly why you cannot be angry (or frustrated) when dealing with special needs children.

  • Rain

    Isn't this the same school system that gave their exiting superintended over a MILLION bucks? Wayne township is as corrupt as it gets

  • A Teacher

    Another news site says that the teacher had to enter the seclusion/cool-down area multiple times to retrieve objects from the child with which she was cutting herself. After retrieving multiple objects from the child–in an attempt to prevent injury–the child angrily lunged for the staff who were exiting the seclusion/cool-down room, resulting in her finger getting caught in the door. Seems to me the teacher would've been sued either way…1) let the child slice herself up or 2) retrieve the sharp objects at risk of personal injury. I feel bad for the student and for the teachers involved :-(

    • Layer

      why were there sharp things in an isolation room that a special needs kid can get? I hope she loses her license to teach.

  • Sarachaya

    Start with ISOLATION ROOM . School is NOT jail. Therein lies the problem. LEarning to work with people who have an identified need requires more than being able to ISOLATE. It actually requires UDNERSTANDING and usisng acknowledged PROVEN methods of behavior direction.

  • Shawna

    I would wind up in jail. Anyone even tried to put my child in an isolation room and they would be in pain and then locked in the isolation room them selves. I worked with special needs kids as a teenager at a camp and they are amazing. Yes they have their issues as do we all but they are among the most lovable people in the world. I couldn't imagine hurting any child let alone a special needs child who most of the time are acting out due to confusion or frustration. It doesn't matter to me if it was done "on accident" or not it is wrong to put a child in an isolation room and is bound to have at least one bad outcome if not many.

  • Lu Plonski

    There is a reason we call these children "special" and the fact they require extra care. Sadly, we do not properly train our Police department personnel to properly respond to, or handle any special needs children or adults. To use brute force is something that is overused and too common. For a special needs teacher to traumatize any one of these children is not acceptable, and he or she is obviously in the wrong line of work. The school should immediately realize their wrong in this policy, and apologize and correct the issue, starting with the firing of the teacher, and the destruction of that isolation room.

  • DENNIS

    THIS WAS HANDLED WRONG BY THE STAFF MEMBER. THEY NEED TO TRAIN THE STAFF IF THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS ON PROPER WAYS TO DEAL WITH DIFFERENT PROBLEMS. SOLITARY ISN'T ACCEPTABLE PERIOD.

  • Lu Plonski

    The child was also traumatized by the officer who chose to sit on her.. she was scared to death and had been physically abused by an adult before this.. and being taken away without her parents and put into a hospital and chained to a bed .. even an adult who could not communicate well would have been scared.

  • martinstucky

    The teacher is protected by the school corp, the teachers union and now the State of Indiana. There is now a law on the books to defend teachers accused of violating children.

    There should be camera's in all school classrooms. If they are public schools there is no right to privacy and the immoral teachers need to be monitored.

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