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Sunday, February 11

Meanwhile, Closer to Home

School District fights in Federal Court, states that it is NOT responsible for the safety of students while they are at school.


ALLEGED: Allentown School District officials failed to act substantively after a 12-year-old boy with a history of behavioral and psychological problems raped a first-grade boy in a Central Elementary School restroom. (4 rapes/attempted rapes - ed)

ARGUED: Federal law does not obligate the district to protect its students, so the lawsuit should be dismissed.

Yep, you read that right, Allentown School District, is currently involved in a multi-million dollar lawsuit for failing to protect four first graders in one of their poorest schools. From what you may ask; stray gun shots from gangs, being knifed in the halls, failing grades, domestic abuse? Nope, from being raped by a sixth grade student.

It seems the student in question, a 'special needs' student, was transferred into the ASD from another unmentioned school. The teachers, as per the law's dictates, were not told of the reason for the transfer, just that the student had some difficulties and was covered under the broadening umbrella of the person's with disabilities charter. While there he was interupted during the attempted rape of a 6yo first grader by a teacher who took him to the principal's office, informed them of what had happened and was told it would be handled appropriately. Apparently, according to the law, the teacher is not allowed to be kept in the loop or informed of the outcome of any events regarding these students. (It seemed the decision made was that the 12 yo (F.H.) was to use the upstairs bathroom away from the younger students - of course no teacher, aid or other responsible adult was provided to make sure this happened).

Over the course of the next few months, 3 other boys were attacked with at least one of them being penetrated. Needless to say, parents are outraged and many blame the principal of the school and the superintendant who is supposed to be kept in the loop about such things. Some are even going so far as to blame the parents of the victms for not going to the police. (In fairness to them, they were TOLD the police had been notified by the school, this is also the poorest school in the city and many of the students and their parents do not speak English).

In response to this, a legislator now wants to pass a new law making sure that schools are held responsible. (after all they suspend students for wearing 'hoodies' and carrying cell phones, citing 'safety' concerns). However the school district lawyer has warned that if the schools are not granted immunity, lawsuits will increase and so will school taxes in order to pay legal fees and awards.

Now here is my questions to you -

1. How do we balance the rights of disabled children with the rights of the population in general?

2. At what point did being unable to control your anger become a disability? Isn't that a character flaw? Are we making every bad decision and every personality flaw a disease now? (And yes, I do realize the rapist was abused but that does NOT give him the right to abuse others)

3. Will/Should the rapists parents be held accountable for what has happened?

4. If your children were in this school district, what would you do?

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