Have you heard about this incident? A teacher in a Special Education classroom placed a student into a large, cardboard, refrigerator box for a “time out”. The teacher was suspended ten days without pay and has now been allowed to return to work at a different school. The mother of the student who was put in a box is outraged.
Sadly, this isn’t the first story to hit the news that reports on the bad behavior of a teacher who worked in a Special Education classroom. Earlier this year, Stuart Chaifetz learned that his son, Akian, was being bullied by his teachers. Akian has an autism spectrum disorder, and was unable to tell his father what was happening at school. Stuart placed a recording device into his son’s pocket, and this allowed him to hear exactly what Akian’s teachers were saying to him.
More recently, there was another story about a student in a Special Education classroom who was mistreated by his teacher. Joy Amatuccio is the mother of Jacob Amatuccio. Jacob is fourteen years old, is in Middle School, and is disabled. Jacob suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was one years old, and is confined to a wheelchair.
Joy discovered that Jacob’s teacher, Renee Chandler, was putting Jacob into a refrigerator-sized cardboard box several times a day during the month of April in 2012. This was being done as a form of discipline, and as a “time out”. Joy says that her son’s education plan calls for walking him around outside to calm him down. Obviously, that plan was not being followed!
An investigation was done. Teacher Renee Chandler was placed on paid suspension for three days in May, and ten days of unpaid suspension that ended on June 1, 2012. The box was removed from the classroom in April.
The teacher was not fired. Instead, the school district reassigned her to a different school. She was previously working at Hudson Middle School, and has now been assigned to West Caldwell High School.
Joy Amatuccio has created a Facebook page called “Justice for Jacob Amatuccio”. The page shows a photo of Jacob and a photo of the refrigerator box. It also has a photo of teacher Renee Chandler. Those who are interested can find links to two petitions that have been created at Change.org. One asks for Chandler’s teachers license to be revoked, and the other asks for her to be fired.
Image by Liz Cantu on Flickr