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Article of Interest - Court Cases/Legal Issues

Abused Child Returns to School With Legal Protections

from Wrightslaw's "The Special Ed Advocate", January 7, 2003
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Sometimes, we learn about a case that triggers intense emotions and a strong desire to right a wrong. Alex R.'s case triggered these responses. We are waiting to hear if Illinois school officials will right this wrong.


The following information is taken directly from the news release about Alex R's case. If you download the decision, keep in mind that the file is very large so please be patient.


"A young Illinois boy who suffered abuse and harassment at the hands of public school staff, under the direction of a superintendent who then lied under oath to protect himself, will soon return to his classroom with legally ordered protections."


"Alex, a student at Forrestville Valley school district in northwest Illinois who has been diagnosed with an epileptic disorder with autistic characteristics (Landau Kleffner Syndrome Variant), had become terrified of attending school . . . "


"The superintendent amassed secret documents, derided Alex to members of the local community, and committed other acts aimed at removing him from the school district . . . The demeanor of the school staff when testifying with the superintendent present evidenced how they were intimidated by the superintendent into furthering his agenda to rid the district of student’s presence.”


"One of the most egregious examples of the school district’s violations occurred last October. As huge pieces of dangerous agricultural equipment were swarming local fields to harvest corn, Alex, then nine years old, walked from his school playground into the vast density of an unharvested cornfield in an attempt to find his way home. This occurred as school personnel stood by and watched."


"Instead of making it safely home – some 15 miles away – Alex fell into what was described as 'quicksand' -- a muddy section of the Leaf River in Ogle County. For three hours, Alex sank lower into the muck, water covering his nose. Alex lost feeling below the neck. He cried out and called for his mother until he had no strength left."


Alex survived his ordeal but suffers from post-traumatic stress sydrome. He is receiving intense therapy to return his security and trust in people, and to alleviate his fear of school.


According to Charles Fox, Alex's attorney, the district was ordered to train their staff, hire experts to assist in Alex’s re-inclusion, and monitor implementation of positive behavior management and sensory integration therapy. The district was also ordered to develop a disability sensitivity and awareness curriculum for all district classes K-12, and provide compensatory and other services and other remedies.


The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.



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Pete and Pam Wright

Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate

P. O. Box 1008

Deltaville, VA 23043



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