A mother in Bluffton, South Carolina, has accused her 7-year-old son's teachers of physically abusing him and causing him to suffer a bruise near his eye after they physically restrained the student, who is in special education classes.
Tabitha David says administators from Bluffton Elementary School called her Thursday to tell her that Jacob had to be restrained because he allegedly had an outburst while taking a test in the fifth-grade wing's computer lab. They say he tried to stab a teacher and other students with a pencil, reports the Island Packet.
David says she is used to hearing about her son being physically restrained because it is necessary at times, given the fact that he suffers from episodic dyscontrol syndrome, with leads him to have uncontrollable emotional and physical outbursts.
But this time was different, according to the mom. David says she noticed a bruise had formed near Jacob's eye later that day and, when she questioned him, her son reportedly told her that two teachers removed him from the computer lab and dragged him out a side door to bring him back to his classroom. David says the teachers forced her son to the ground on his stomach while they were outside and that, while one teacher tried to restrain him, the other grabbed his arm and head and shoved him to the ground.
Although a teacher allegedly claimed Jacob had suffered from rug burn after he dragged his nose across a carpet, David says Jacob's eye was puffy, bruised, and had dirt in it. She filed a police report after speaking with the teacher, but says she doesn't expect anything to come from it because there is no other physical evidence, aside from Jacob's bruise.
Three video cameras caught short snapshots of what occurred outside and in the hallway of the school that day, but none tell a complete story. The footage reveals that administrators dragged Jacob outside, but that they also pulled him to a playground area off-camera. The school claims the student was taken there because the playground has a soft surface, but David says she believes that was where the abuse took place.
The video also shows Jacob reportedly kicking one of the teachers and attempting to bite and spit at the women who were restraining him.
David says her son is scared to go to school now and that she wants the school district to take action and investigate.
"I don't feel it was handled properly," David said. "I don't want parents to have to deal with that. I cried for three hours because I didn't know what to do. I don't want to be scared to send my child to school."
The South Carolina Department of Education strongly discourages the use of restraint and seclusion in classrooms and admits there is limited data available concerning the efficacy of restraining a child, reports SCDDC.com. Teachers and administrators are encouraged to manage student behavior using "positive behavioral interventions and other supports," but the state does not ban the use of physical restraint in the classroom.
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