19 days ago, a student was beaten in the cafeteria of Caesar Rodney High School. Tomorrow, the student’s parents and advocate will be holding a press conference in front of the Caesar Rodney District Office.
On Tuesday, a student with disabilities was beat up very badly in the Caesar Rodney High School cafeteria. According to WDEL’s Amy Cherry, this was not related to the racial slur associated with the high school mascot that shook the Caesar Rodney community this week.
The boy’s parents contacted their advocate, Diane Eastburn, because of the punishment meted out to their son who was massively beat up. He was charged by the school with “offensive touching” even though he is not seen on the video punching the other student. The word “bitch” was thrown around prior to the fight. The disabled student received two days of in-school suspension but his parents do not feel the punishment should have been given to their child since he wasn’t fighting. The parents and Eastburn contacted WDEL yesterday. In fairness, I sent Eastburn to WDEL because I was uncomfortable posting the video with minors on it. The video is very graphic as described by Cherry:
The student was repeatedly being punched in the back of the head as he used his hands to cover his head. The victim student suffered bumps and bruises to his head and face in the assault.
This has Eastburn wondering what is going on at Caesar Rodney High School since these two unrelated incidents happened in the same week:
“There seems to be an underlying hostility in that building,” alleged Eastburn. “And if they’re having problems they need to address it quickly. To be quite honest, they can’t afford not to. If they start having fights like this, someone’s going to get hurt or worse. These are lawsuits waiting to happen if they don’t start dealing with the undercurrent in that building.”
These are questions the district are going to have to look at. I sincerely hope the disabled child does not have a concussion or any lasting damage done in this brutal assault. I don’t think any student who is attacked should get a punishment like that, whether they are disabled or not. If words are said, let the punishment fit that category. But using a poor choice of words is not the same thing as offensive touching in any world.
Updated, 3:15pm: Caesar Rodney School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald issued the following statement regarding this incident on the district website-
STATEMENT FROM DR. FITZGERALD REGARDING CRHS CAFETERIA INCIDENT
“Recently a fight that previously took place in the Caesar Rodney High School cafeteria has been posted to the internet. This situation in no way is related to the recent mascot post. After an investigation by the school administration and the Delaware State Police, disciplinary action was taken and an arrest was made. Fights of this nature, while rare are unacceptable and are not tolerated in Caesar Rodney. The District will continue to work hard to insure the safety of our students.”
Diane Eastburn is the Kent County parent representative for the IEP Task Force, meeting for the first time this Thursday, September 4th, in Dover and Wilmington. Diane has a message for all special needs parents:
I am committed to doing everything I can to make the process better for Delaware students and parents. If you would like to contact me, I have provided my email address, Cedarridge90@aol.com or another contact for me is my home phone 302-653-4216. I will take calls 9am – 8pm, but since this is a holiday weekend I may be in and out – but I have an answering machine and would be happy to return any calls I may miss. Again, my goal is to make the IEP process better for everyone. Thank you again for your comments and feel free to share your thoughts. If people would like they may email thoughts and leave a phone number or email address so I may get back with them.
Please post this on your blog – the larger variety of people I hear from the larger voice I can help represent. This is all about fixing the process for our children and our parents. We need to remove the adversarial sides and make this a true team effort. IEP Team should be just that – a team, not a district against a parent. I also believe that we need accountability in the process.
This was exactly what I was looking for when I emailed every single House Representative and Senator in Delaware the evening they came out with Senate Concurring Resolution 63. I wanted outside parents on this task force, ones not involved in other groups. Diane Eastburn is just that, a regular parent, who has been through this process before, and helps others who have been in the same boat. I am confident Diane will be an awesome advocate for all our special needs children, so please try to contact her before Thursday. I am expecting heavy parent turnout at both locations, so public comment may be limited. If you can’t show up, please contact Diane and let her know what you feel is wrong in the process. If you have had IEPs denied, let her know that, and the reasons why it was denied. The only way we can change things is if we speak with one voice, and right now Diane has the microphone! All Delaware bloggers, please reblog this so we can get the widest audience possible!