TASH Releases Position Statement on Cameras in Schools

TASH Releases Position Statement on Cameras in Schools

TASH has been at the forefront of ending restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools for many years. So, why not support the use of cameras in classrooms? TASH believes that placing cameras in classrooms could lead to new and more entrenched types of discrimination and abuse. In late January, TASH released a new position statement, Will Cameras in Classrooms Make Schools Safer?, urging caution and describing the unexplored dangers of having video cameras in schools.

The New Face of Punishment in the Public Schools

The New Face of Punishment in the Public Schools

Noted conservative attorney and activist, John Whitehead, shares his perspective on restraint and seclusion in school districts across the country in his editorial, “Handcuffs, Leg Shackles and Tasers: The New Face of Punishment in the Public Schools.”  Whitehead’s testament proves that opposition to these dangerous practices comes from both sides of the political spectrum.

In this article, Whitehead describes the dangers of restraint and seclusion. With schools who implement Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) still as the minority,  children who act out are more likely to become victims of restraint and seclusion.  Whitehead expresses similarities between our nation’s schools and the American police state.

“Clearly, the pathology that characterizes the American police state has passed down to the schools,” says Whitehead.  “Now in addition to the government and its agents viewing the citizenry as suspects to be probed, poked, pinched, tasered, searched, seized, stripped and generally manhandled, all with the general blessing of the court, our children in the public schools are also fair game.”

Click here, to read the full article.

Inhumanity Anywhere is a Threat to Human Dignity Everywhere

Inhumanity Anywhere is a Threat to Human Dignity Everywhere

Guest Blog Post By: Scott Badesch, President/CEO, Autism Society of America

Recently, it seems like every morning I have read or heard about incidents of violence against individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In Traverse City, Michigan, Kelli Stapleton tried to kill her daughter on the spectrum. A Florida teen, Aaron Hill, was kicked and punched by two young men at a party. In Bay Village, Ohio, an unnamed 15-year-old boy on the spectrum was victimized in an Ice Bucket Challenge where the bucket of ice cold water was actually filled with body fluids. Last year, in Chicago, Alex Spourdalakis was stabbed to death by his reportedly overburdened mother and caretaker. And, most recently, in Montgomery County, Maryland, John and Janice Land kept their 22-year-old sons with autism padlocked in a basement room for nearly six years. There are countless incidences like these across the country.

In the case of Ms. Stapleton, the justice system found her competent to stand trial and allowed her to enter a plea deal related to child abuse rather than attempted murder. Imagine that, a child with a disability nearly loses her life and the justice system sees no wrong in lowering the charge to a lesser crime. It was not abuse – the crime was an attempt to end the life of a young girl. While some may suggest that the mother was overburdened by the demands of her daughter, the reality is, being overburden is not a license to kill. The same is true for the mother in Chicago. In the Lands case, the imprisonment of their two children was not seen as inhumane; calls for justice were nearly nonexistent with the exception of voices from the autism community.

As a society, we must demand that when violence occurs to those living with a disability, appropriate prosecution for the crime committed is the only acceptable response. We must view violence against individuals living with ASD and other disabilities as hate crimes and judge them as we would any other hate crime.

We must make sure that we value the dignity of all people – regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or political affiliation. It is time to demand respect for all humankind and focus on improving the quality of life for everyone, including those living with autism.

Scott Badesch
President/CEO
Autism Society of America