A Fresno, California, mother has filed two claims against her daughter’s special education teacher and the elementary school administrators after the teacher allegedly locked her special needs daughter in a makeshift cage.
Ledelldra Brooks says that back in May, she showed up unannounced to her 7-year-old daughter’s school, Viking Elementary, and was horrified to find the girl sitting in a soiled diaper while locked in a makeshift cage. The cage was allegedly made from a toddler gate and a crib gate, both attached to bookshelves. Immediately, Brooks called the police and hired a lawyer in order to make claims against the teacher and school.
The teacher in question, Teresa MonPere, was put on administrative leave right away, and now, reports say that she no longer works at Viking Elementary because she took a different job at Addicott Elementary. Micheline Golden, spokeswoman for the Fresno Unified School District, said that the principal and superintendent would not be commenting on the matter while it is under investigation.
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“We take these situations very seriously,” Golden said. “We conducted a thorough investigation consistent with our personnel procedures. I can’t share any outcome of that investigation because it is a personnel issue. Fresno Unified is committed to providing the best education possible for our special education students and being their advocates.”
So far, no criminal charges have been filed, but Brooks is waiting for answers as the school board plans to meet to discuss the complaints next week.
Special education expert Joe Bowling told the Fresno Bee that what the teacher did was “totally inappropriate.”
“This is not something I would put a child into and claim this is for their own protection. It’s a cage, this is what you would put a wild animal in,” Bowling said. “Obviously there are people in the district that need training. I can’t believe that somebody, an administrator walking in that room and seeing it, would allow that.”
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Still, some people on social media seem to think that the mother and the media are overreacting to something that’s not that serious.
“What I'm going to say is not politically correct, and I'm sure I will get a lot of hate for saying it, but I am so sick of hearing whining parents complaining because their disruptive special needs children are not treated like the other kids,” said a commenter on the Fresno Bee’s Facebook page. “This enclosure is hardly a dungeon and I find it hard to believe that the child was traumatized by spending time in there. The teachers have their hands full with "normal" kids, and now they're expected to take care of these kids also. When did changing a seven-year-old's dirty diaper become part of a teachers job description? And, I notice it certainly did not take long for the mother to call the cops and then a lawyer.”
Do you think that the teacher went too far with locking the disabled child in a makeshift cage?