Warwick Mother Claims Physical & Emotional Abuse of Her Learning Impaired First Grade Son

EDITOR’S NOTE: The story below is based on number of different emails received by The Current from Melissa Dixon. The story is important because schools must fulfill their legal responsibilities to learning impaired students like Melissa’s son who are under an IEP or 504 plan.


In Melissa’s own words …

“Here’s what happened to my son at Sherman elementary school at Gorton. I’m going to paste my Facebook post below because it’s so much to type up again. Since this post, I have spoken to (XXXXXXX) the assistant to the superintendent.  She asked what I would like to see happen and she said she would reach back out sometime this week. I haven’t heard back from her yet.

On January 16th, officer XXXXXX arrived at my home to collect a statement.  We had no idea police were contacted but they spoke with (the substitute teacher) first so i assume she realized how wrong it was to report abuse a week later and allow the woman to continue targeting my son.  I spoke to him again yesterday January 24th, he said he would submit a warrant to the judge pursuing charges on the teacher. He also said the judge probably won’t sign off on the warrant so the teacher would suffer no charges.  The principal hasn’t spoken more than short simple responses.  I had to ask her to notify the music teacher and new substitute that (my son) isn’t being disruptive, he has a verbal tick that sounds like a repetitive Humm. He has been sent out of the room and asked several times to stop making noise.  And last minute, (my son’s) therapist left the practice so we are desperately trying to find a replacement for him.

Here is the Facebook post from January 11th
We have been dealing with a few issues at our son’s school. He is in the first grade.  I posted this on a Warwick school page around 8pm. I later received an e mail from the principal around 8:50. So many parents and school committee members reached out to help.  I’m so thankful i know who to contact if there is ever another issue with my son’s school.
I’m sorry this is so long.  I need some advice.  I have a 6 year old son in first grade.  His teacher is out on surgical leave and he has a substitute in the meantime.  My boy has ADHD and some issues with emotions.  He takes medication and has been doing amazing until last week.  He can be a little over the top sometimes and he finally has an IEP as of this year.  Last week, on January 4th, he said hi to another student who ignored him. My son got upset and kept asking him to say hi.  This turned into a yelling match between the boys.  The teacher put hands on each upper arm and pulled my son away leaving a mark on his arm.  He was then sent to the calm down area where he cried for 15 minutes in front of his peers. He sits alone because he’s so afraid someone will tell in him or get him in trouble and he’s terrified of being judged by others.  I called the principal who spoke to the sub.
Yesterday morning (January 10th), my son was doing a task with another staff member outside of the room.  When he returned, the class was finished with morning snack and having circle time on the rug.   My son took his snack out and the sub told him he couldn’t have it right now. It escalated to her pulling the baggie out of his hand crushing his mini donuts.
Later that day my son was overwhelmed and brought himself to the calm down area where there is a small box of figits. The student from last week’s incident walked over to my son’s safe space and proceeded to dig through the figits and pester my son. The teacher ignored this.  My son took one of the figits back and the student told on him.  He was then told to leave the calm down area and return to his seat where the teacher had a conversation with him about not taking things from others hands.  This woman did exactly this to my son a few hours prior.
The principal was notified and spoke to the teacher and my son again.  My son came home and told me the principal told him his teacher didn’t take his snack from him.  She wasn’t even there.
Today, the teacher was yelling and my son said she was being mean.  That teacher told him HE’s mean.
I just feel like he is being emotionally abused.  His 504 accommodations regarding his emotional behaviors is being ignored and my son is left crying without being consoled.  I don’t know what else to do.  Can someone please help me?
One of my biggest concerns is that the principal did not repot physical abuse for a week.  She is obligated by law to report it immediately.  She has shuddered no consequences for neglecting to report. (The assistant to the Superintendent) is aware but has not gotten back to me with a response.  I can’t trust that my son will be safe with (the substitute teacher) after she allowed the behavior to effect my son.  She also allowed the neglect to follow my son’s 504. Over all he was physically abused, verbally abused and emotive abused due to her lack of concern regarding my first report/ concern. Elijah’s education is disrupted every time he needs to be sent out of the room because of the tick that started when the substitute hurt him.
To be more specific, I would like the principal to receive some sort of disciplinary consequence for not reporting physical abuse which led to continued inappropriate behavior/ actions towards my son.  The school allowed the substitute to neglect his 504 plan, denying him to utilize the provisions created for him. I asked the principal specifically to make sure the sub was aware of the 504 and to check up on her. This was not done.

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