A. Barton Hinkle: How Public School Administrators Endanger Special-Needs Kids


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If a parent in Virginia repeatedly locked a 7-year-old child in a closet, child-protective social service agencies would come down on him like a ton of bricks. But if a school administrator does the same thing, he has a green light to keep it up.

Hypothetical? Not at all. That very thing happened to an autistic student in Powhatan, Virginia. School officials never even bothered to inform the parents about the punishment. Sean Campbell, the boy's father, learned about it one day when his son began pleading not to send him to school again.

Why does this happen? As A. Barton Hinkle explains, when faced with the choice between protecting children or protecting the public school system, the system's lawyers chose to protect the system.