A lawsuit accuses Duval County Public Schools in Florida of punishing kids as young as 3 with a “discipline box” made of drywall. The filing alleges inadequate policies and training for special-needs teachers.
The lawsuit, first reported by WJAX, alleges that Love Grove Elementary School in Jacksonville had the box outside of a classroom for preschool special-needs children. Involved in the lawsuit is the mother of a 3-year-old with cerebral palsy who was one of the students placed in the box.
Duval County Public Schools does not have adequate policies for training and supervising staff to handle special-needs students, the lawsuit claims, adding that students understood that if they were sent to the discipline box, they were being punished.
Case/photo is from from 2012. Alleges district does not have proper policies in place for special needs teachers. pic.twitter.com/FuUnZiK5Ad
— Cole Heath (@ColeANjax) April 11, 2017
The mother involved in the lawsuit took a photo of the “discipline box” in 2012, according to reporter Cole Heath.
“I represent a family where a child had been placed in the box. Again, not a valid behavioral technique,” said attorney Aaron Bates, according to WJAX.
Mistreatment of special-needs students also occurred at another district elementary school and on a school bus, the 37-page lawsuit says.
A Duval County schools spokesman told WJAX that the district cannot comment on active litigation, but that it was seeking out teachers named in the suit to determine if they still work for the school district. The district’s superintendent said Duval County schools have made progress in recent years.
“I think you have to look at every individual situation and what are the facts of the situations,” Dr. Nikolai Vitti said, according to WJAX. “I think when you look at the way we serve [special-needs] students, we’ve made huge strides over the last four years.”
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