Monday, June 29, 2009

Update on the Kemp Case for the Minions of the Light

Everybody recalls that the administration filed a child-abuse charge against Steve Kemp (aka Goader) because he hooked a special-needs child to a chair with a harness the child had on when Goader entered the junk-filled room that served as the children's classroom.

We later learned that these harnesses were supposed to come off children when they entered the room (one infers the children wore harnesses on the bus and that use of restraints is not illegal on the bus since it is a special circumstance cited in the law below). But their being left on the children all day probably was for the convenience of the person caring for them before Goader came on the scene (a long-time aide, apparently. She left for "burn out.)

I doubt that practice of leaving the restraints on in class meets Florida restraint standards, but the administrative staff did not recommend the aide to Professional Standards.

When the special-ed administrative staff threw Goader into the special-needs class-junk-room, they--Sosa, Morris, and Smilely) did not give him any orientation or instruction whatsoever although their job descriptions said that they should have done. Steve had no training in caring for special-needs children and learned on the go.
Two of the boys (one weighed 175 pounds Steve estimates) were interested in escaping the room through the door. That was when Steve hooked the already in-place harness of one to a chair so that he would not escape while Steve chased the other.

At this juncture the administrative trio of Smiley, Morris, and Sosa entered the room, and one of the women said she "didn't want to lose my job" when she spotted the harness restraining the student while Steve engaged in securing the other student.

Six days went by with Stevc still the teacher for the children although he was labeled a "child-abuser" in the charge that Smiley filed with the Sheriff's department after the six days had elapsed. The sheriff promptly threw out the charge.

It appears to me that the Florida Children's Services site quotes the law governing restraints as one that includes an exception that applies to Steve's case. (I highlight the exception in red below). But the administration was so eager to charge Steve with child abuse (because he has a blog that explores school issues is my analysis) that its power thugs ignored this exception in Steve's case, although he was totally ignorant of the restraint laws for special-ed children. But the aide who left the restraints on the children must have known about it. And the supervisors who supervised the aide surely knew about it and that restraints for the bus should have come off when the children entered class. But the administrators let the aide's defection pass because whe was one of the gang and left on the harnesses for convenience.

I am sure the mother in the article below is quite right that special-needs and even other children are restrained in schools for the convenience of the staff. Those restraints on the two boys in Steve's classroom were left on for the convenience of not having to take the restraints off in the morning and put them back on at the end of the day.

In psychiatric hospitals restraints are used routinely for the staff's convenience. It is a widespread and deplorable practice. I am a registered nurse and can say with assurance that I know convenience for the staff is as frequent a reason for putting patients in restraints as patients' rambunctious behaviour.

But in Steve's case, the administrative personnel cherrypicked a person to charge with child abuse, and the one they cherrypicked was Steve for reasons known to themselves. Maybe they needed a show victim
trapped in the claws of Professional Standards to keep the teachers in terror of their jobs, or maybe their sadism index was high six days after the restraint incident took place.

I have filed charges for child abuse against Smiley, Sosa, Morris, and Kipley--the last-named for for abetting the child abuse by not investigating my charge and not even acknowledging that she got it, which prolonged the danger to the children under the care of the three negligent administrators and the aide who did not remove the restraints when they entered the room in the morning. I filed the charge against Kipley with Mr. Valdez, but he adamantly refuses to answer it. There is one other person complicit that I shall include when I do enough research to decide with which agencies to file child-abuse charges.

I referred Steve Kemp to Board Member April Griffin to see if she could intervene in the process that had put him on suspension and get it straightened out. Although Steve didn't say much about the meeting, I got the impression it was non-productive and that Board Member Griffin urged him to keep quiet, that "good things were happening behind the scenes."

Board Member Griffin--despite children's safety being the board's constant drumbeat-- did not mention the danger posed to the special-needs children by the administrators' derelict behavior and would pose in the future because their drill with putting a non-trained teacher into a classroom situation in which he was unfamiliar with no briefing was S.O.P. for these administrative people, not irregular it appears.

Ms. Griffin, who poses as teachers' friend did not show herself as much of a friend to teachers or to special-needs students either in this demonstration of her wanting to escape from the responsibility of dealing with it. I detect no evidence that Ms. Griffin pursued the particulars of Steve's case and made the administrators demonstrate that the charge and one-year suspension were necessary. (Her visit with Steve came about the middle of his suspension, so he continued in that condition for months after the Griffin interview with no abatement of the suspension and no word of how his case was progressing.)

So when I decide what state agencies to appeal to for the child abuse demonstrated by the administrators of the Hillsborough County Schools, I shall have to add Board Member Griffin's name to the administrative child-abuse roster. She knew about it. She said nothing about it. She did nothing about it. She knew about the special-abuse administrative practice of putting an untrained teacher in a room to care for special-needs children with no instruction. That should have catalyzed corrective measures on her part because she ran for the office of board member ostensibly for the children's benefit foremost.

And Ms. Kipley knew of the details of the case and did nothing to rein in the negligent administrators in their reckless supervisory practices. So she abetted the abuse of the children.

I must ponder whether to name others on the board. The board members all knew about the case although its members feigned lack of knowledge.
I published the situation in my blog and sent them copies. I brought up the case at least twice to their dismay in public comments at board meetings.

The final paragraph of the guidelines for "Employee Misconduct Complaints" says this: "Once a case is closed, a copy of the report may be requested." I have requested my report of Steve's case and on an inspired thought, requested the five cases' reports that preceded Steve's.

Closed by Professional Standards, these cases are all public information, yet Bart Birdsall reports that several of the people whom he knows who went through Professional Standards have not gotten those statements and want them. This is professional administrative negligence that we must challenge both on the children's safety issue and also on Linda Kipley's failure to complete the cases by cataloguing the investigation and the recommendation to fire or not to fire.

These reports supposed to be written by home-ec credentialed Ms. Kipley are now public information now that the cases have been resolved. Steve and others who have run the Professional Standards gauntlet would have copies of their cases if Ms. Kipley did her job. Steve Kemp would know about his case's end if Ms. Kipley fulfilled her professional duties but instead had to spot his name on the fall class rolls to infer that the investigation cleared him.nless he had spotted his name on the fall class rolls. This is no way to treat victims of Professional Standards charges--legitimate or cooked up.

I will bet anybody who wants to gamble on the situation a hundred dollars that Kipley has not written these reports of the five I have requested, that they are nowhere to be found.

The administration has botched the Kemp case so badly that its members want to bury it. Tom Gonzalez spoke of the lawyers who settled the case in the third person. He said in effect, "It's those lawyers out there who settled the case months ago, not Mr. Kemp's lawyer and I who settled the case months ago."

But I won't let Minions of the Darkness bury the case. I may see if I can't persuade a librettist to mount it as an opera.

The ROSSAC thugs will hear of this case again and again with my work before the CRT screen of my computer. The Kemp case will become twin to the Erwin case in the sordid annals of the administration's sadism career.

I want to see if I can get hold of that mother crusading against restraints. This case falls in her purview.
I will also send a copy of any complaints with state agencies that I file to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It has a case in the legal pipeline now filed against the Hillsborough County School Board via the NAACP for its mistreatment of special-needs children.

We are never helpless, Minions of the Light, in the face of wrongdoing if we won't shut up. Only if good people speak out against injustice can we defeat the evil that crosses our path. lee

National Advocacy Group and Florida Mom Seek to End Restraints of Special Education Students - Problems with Injuries and Deaths

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Phyllis Musumeci is the founder of Florida Families Against Restraint and Seclusion and the National Families Against Restraint and Seclusion. Phyliss is also a mom on a mission to end restraints on special education / special need students. Unfortunately, many special education law students including those with autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities, are unduly restrained in public and private schools in Florida and the rest of the United States. Phyliss was asked to speak by the National Disability Rights Network in Washington, D.C.

A new report on the issue of restraints and seclusion of special education students show widespread use in public schools throughout the nation. Some child rights and education rights advocates believe that the restraints amount to abuse and neglect of these students. Furthermore, the use of these restraints often times causes serious personal injuries and the wrongful death of special education students.

Under Florida law, school officials can restrain a special education student who is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others in the school environment. Muscumeci and others believe that Florida law is too vague and that children are often restrained when there is no danger at all to themselves or others. In public schools, some students are restrained for convenience of the teacher or staff rather than for the safety and welfare of the student. You can read more about Phyliss Muscumeci's efforts and the problems of restraints of special education students at Child Advocacy Groups and Mom Seek to End Restraints of Special Education Students in Florida and Other States.


Anonymous said...

The district picks and chooses who they torture and what laws they adhere to. They are so used to everyone ignoring them that they are able to get away with murder. Then, when someone uncovers their wrongdoing they hire some sham company to do an audit who they probably pay a lot of taxpayer money to and hold their heads up high claiming they did nothing wrong because the audit says so. That is how Candy Olson and the rest of the board reacted when a sham audit declared SDHC squeaky clean after the Doug Erwin case.

Floridamom said...

Dear Parent Advocates,

APRAIS, The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion, is a coalition of 17 national disability advocacy organizations and Families Against Restraint and Seclusion is a member. We are conducting this survey of parents and guardians to establish the extent to which restraint, seclusion and aversive procedures have been used with students with disabilities and special needs (whether served under IDEA or under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) in public or private schools or in residential facilities. Please pass this on to any families that you think would be interested in filling out our survey

Please note: If you have completed any previous questionnaires on this topic or provided other information, the information you reported will not be included as a part of these results. You must complete this survey for your responses to be included.

The survey will be available for completion until October 12th, 2009. Approximately five to ten minutes will be required to complete the survey.
Click on this link and you will be ready to start the survey

Thank you.


Phyllis Musumeci
Families Against Restraint and Seclusion
Florida Families Against Restraint and Seclusion