Using “Therapy” as a Cover for Abuse

Mental illness has long languished behind physical treatment in parity, research and social parity.  Disorders and disabilities that are lifelong and which affect how an individual functions on a daily basis (like autism spectrum disorders or my ADD) are particularly misunderstood by the public at large, and unfortunately, by teachers specifically.

And while most people would agree that schools need to provide education and training, I can’t help but feel like these kinds of programs are some of the first on the chopping block when public budgets begin to feel tightened.

Perhaps I should not have been surprised to hear about an incident two weeks ago in Kentucky where a nine-year old autistic boy was restrained by placing him in a green duffel bag until his mother came to pick him up.  But I was surprised, because I couldn’t imagine any teacher lacking the basic empathy necessary to see how damaging and harmful doing so would be.

Teachers at the school have had no training in how to meet the needs of autistic students, nor any training in any kind of psychological therapy.  Nevertheless, it is apparently a normal thing at this school to restrain students by putting them into a duffel bag and pulling the drawstring tight, with the only consideration to safety having a teacher’s aide stationed near the bag, presumably in case of death or something.

I first heard about this through the petition at Change.org but I am still horrified and angry, two weeks later.  No mother should have to bear the sight of her child bound inside a bag, being greeted with the frighted query,

Momma, is that you?

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