At the heart of every parent is the innate desire to protect their child, especially when they have a disability. Unfortunately, parents of children with developmental disabilities are often left feeling helpless and frustrated when it comes to their child’s education. This is especially true when the school system fails to adequately support their child’s emotional and behavioral needs.
If you think this is NOT coming to CANADA, Think again.
In December of 2022, Paul, a 7-year-old boy with a neurological disorder, had a meltdown at his Brooklyn school that led to police intervention. According to an investigation by THE CITY and ProPublica, this is not an isolated incident. In fact, Schools continue to call on safety agents and other police officers to manage students in distress thousands of times each year.
This is a concerning trend, given that students with disabilities are at a higher risk of being restrained or secluded in school. The use of restraints and seclusion can lead to physical and psychological harm and should be avoided whenever possible.
It is essential for schools to have a comprehensive plan in place to support students with disabilities during emotional and behavioral crises. This plan should include trained professionals who can de-escalate the situation and provide appropriate interventions, such as counseling and therapy.
The use of police officers as a first line of response can traumatize the student and undermine the trust between the student, their family, and the school. It can also result in the over-criminalization of minor offenses, such as Paul’s meltdown.
As parents, it is our responsibility to advocate for our children and ensure that they receive appropriate and humane treatment in school. This includes advocating for schools to have a comprehensive plan in place to support students with disabilities during emotional and behavioral crises, and to ensure that law enforcement is only called in the most extreme situations.
In conclusion, the use of police officers in schools to manage students in distress is a concerning trend that must be addressed. Parents of children with disabilities must advocate for their children and work with schools to ensure that they have a comprehensive plan in place to support students during emotional and behavioral crises. This includes ensuring that law enforcement is only called in the most extreme situations and that the use of restraints and seclusion is avoided whenever possible.