Federal investigators have conducted a probe involving the abuse of a special education child who was a student at the Anova Center for Education Contra Costa in Concord, California.
According to EdSource.com, Stuart Candell, a nine-year-old autistic student in a gifted program was harshly disciplined at Anova, which is a private special education school owned by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. The federal investigation of this matter was completed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Federal investigators revealed their findings this week. They concluded that the Oakland, California Unified School District broke federal education and disability laws by kicking Candell out of their district and letting Anova deny his education and engaging in “severe,” “pervasive” and “persistent” disciplinary practices.
Candell was reportedly forcibly placed “face down” and locked in rooms for hours on end.
“Schools across the country should stand up and take notice,” said Ron Hager, senior staff attorney at the National Disability Rights Network, a Washington, D.C.-based group, which consists of state agencies that stay on the lookout for child abuse at schools across the nation.
Advocacy groups for students with disabilities in many U.S. states have been trying to get state legislators and the U.S. Congress to outlaw the physical restraining of special education students during disciplinary procedures. However, these groups have not been able to make such procedures against federal or state law.
Bonnie Candell, Stuart Candell’s mother removed her son from Anova in April 2014 after picking him up from school one day.
“I saw a teacher come out of the restraint room crying,” she told the media. “She was wiping tears from her face because it’s traumatic for the teacher, as well as the student. I thought, ‘This confirms my gut feeling that this is terrible for everyone,” she continued.