#Students' Rights
Tammy Baldwin
United States of America

Lately the argument has been whether or not to put cameras in special needs classrooms. I am not sure why there is a debate. There shouldn’t be a debate.

There is only one right answer and that is a resounding YES. PUT CAMERAS IN special needs CLASSROOMS. YES, please, for the sake of good teachers and vulnerable children everywhere. Cameras… YES.

A wonderful lady documented these incidents you are about to read. She calls bad teachers "MONSTERS".

The monster teacher was morbidly obese, had restricted mobility and the simple act of standing often made her have to stop and catch her breath. I have also changed the names of the students involved to protect their identity. Because I felt helpless, I felt like all avenues of help for these kids were being closed on me, I was advised to document the incidences in as much detail as I could. These are my actual notes… the way I wrote it in that moment. I am not writing this from memory. The boy I call “C” actually has a behavior plan in place but the monster teacher refused to comply with it because it took too long.

September 1 @ 9:18 a.m.:

C (the student) would not comply, would not go to his group. He was yelling loudly and refusing to comply with directions. The teacher bellowed LOUDLY, caught him by the NECK and seemed to apply pressure to the back of his neck. He screamed. Using her hand gripped on his neck, she steered him back to his seat and into a sitting position and then directed him to listen to the teacher’s aide running his small group. He sat for a few minutes.

(When I asked her about her methods, since I was new to her classroom, she explained to me that if you do put your hands on a child, you should request an IEP meeting that same afternoon but in her class she has special training in pressure points so she does not call. I could not find this caveat in ANY standards book the State of California holds.)

C got back up and left his seat again and she again grabbed him by his neck and sat him back down. C was then very compliant.

September 1@ 11:28

The teacher went to a grade level meeting and when she returned C was laying on the floor in the back of the classroom. His socks and shoes were off. The teacher asked him to get up and he refused and she bellowed (I consider bellow well beyond yelling) at him. While he was still lying on the floor, she reached down to where he was on the floor, put her hand into his hair and appeared to pull his head up by his hair to get him upright. When he was up, she grabbed his neck and forced him with her hands squeezing the back of his neck to sit down in his seat. The other aide passed out math fast facts. C refused again. The teacher then stood behind him, leaned in and over him until her weight was fully squeezing him between her body and the edge of his desk. C began to scream and she took her hand and COVERED his full mouth so he couldn’t yell…all the while still pushing the full weight of her morbidly obese body against him and the hard edge of his desk. While still covering his mouth with one hand, she then grabbed his hand with her other hand and placed a pencil in it. She squeezed his hand and forcibly began to write the answers on his page. He then began to comply and she released her grip. He then continued to cry that he didn’t want to come to school.

September 1 @11:55 a.m.:

The teacher was trying to get B’s attention but he was not paying attention. She used her thumb and forefinger to thump him hard two times on the back of the head.

September 1 @12:05:

C was not complying. She went over to him, grabbed him by the back of the shirt so that the front of his shirt is cutting into his neck and she then used the shirt in that constricting position to steer him to his seat. When he started to utter silly words, she grabbed his mouth, squeezed hard and told him, “I don’t want to hear it anymore.”

This was just ONE DAY. The aides who work in her class have been with her for many years and they do nothing. They are as scared and paralyzed as the students. Fearing for their jobs and pensions more than they were worried about the students. It is also noted that the monster is so savvy about her abusive tactics that she only grabs children in non bruising areas.

September 7 @ 10:10

The students were in small groups. C didn’t want to read the page we were on. He then screamed and howled and left the table. When he returned, he began to scream and shriek and howl again. The teacher came over and sat/stood beside him and wrapped her arm around his head until her hand landed on his mouth and was fully covering his whole mouth. She held it there while he screamed until he stopped. She then informed me that this kind of restraint was not appropriate if I was being evaluated or if someone else was in the classroom. She said she needs to call his parents and inform them of what strategies are being utilized.

No calls to my knowledge were made.

September 8 @8:31

C is reading a book at the book shelf by the cubbies. The book was open, C’s hand was sitting on one page. The teacher asked him to put the book away. C ignored the directive. The teacher came back to the book shelf, shouted, “NO! It is not time for books.” She then SLAMMED the book closed with his hand still inside and then put her hand and her morbidly obese weight down on top of the book with his hand still inside….She did this until he screamed and then she reprimanded him AGAIN.

Student A is sitting in small groups. He was not working. He was complaining and finally fell off his chair and on to the floor. The teacher asked him to get up. He did not respond. The teacher went over to him put a hand on each ear and then grabbed each ear hard and pulled until he screamed out in pain. She then pulled each ear in unison in an upward fashion until he screamed out in pain more and stood up and complied. He then sat in his seat.

I know, take a deep breath. It’s hard stuff to read about. It was hard to be there and then to feel helpless because no one would do anything. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” and that hit home hard for me. So many staff and admin who are paid substantial salaries and retirements do NOTHING to protect these children…but CAMERAS WILL.

Let me say, this unfortunately goes on and on. And, sadly, this teacher is not the only one, she is simply the first time I realized how truly vulnerable our kiddos are and how there are teachers who use their positions of power for abuse. It was the first time I realized that there are teachers who use their tenure and reputation to take the easy road because they are tired and lazy and don’t really enjoy teaching but really want the paycheck and retirement. It was the first time I realized that teacher’s and admins have their own so called blue wall and they will close ranks to protect the monsters in order to preserve reputations and retirement at the expense of children.

Cameras in special needs classrooms are necessary.

Cameras WILL prevent teachers from becoming Ogars and Monsters and beasts because they have proven that they will behave ONLY when the paycheck signers are watching them. And, truly, it’s not always that your child is going to be beaten or raped, sometimes it’s that they are going to be humiliated day in and day out, mildly abused, verbally and physically, day in and day out and they can fall victim to an abuser who defeats their want to learn and destroys their sense of well being and the very self esteem you have worked so hard to build. Children who are already communication impaired are easy targets. They cannot defend themselves nor can they explain to you what went on. They simply withdraw and act out even more and the teacher makes them the scapegoat for the teacher’s own evil. When teachers turn to Monsters because no one is looking, children are in jeopardy of being bruised both skin deep and soul deep. All children deserve a safe and nurturing environment in which to learn and kids with special needs NEED this in order to reach out and try to connect. Cameras WILL ensure this happens and will weed out the teachers who are unwilling to commit to this and who perhaps got into teaching for the WRONG reasons.

CAMERAS…YES!!!…It’s a no brainer, my friends. Be a super hero every single day by standing up for children! Cameras protect our most vulnerable members of society from our most depraved and evil monsters. Cameras should be MANDATORY in ALL special needs classrooms.

We, the undersigned, request that Tammy Baldwin make it Mandatory to have Cameras in Special Needs Classrooms in Wisconsin for the safety of the children and the teachers.

Let us be the voice of the children who cannot speak to tell us what happened during the school day. Lets do our part and care for those who are abused or bullied behind closed doors at school.

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The Mandatory Cameras in Special Needs Classrooms petition to Tammy Baldwin was written by Michelle Sheely and is in the category Students' Rights at GoPetition.