A Pittsburgh family is outraged after they say their seven-year-old was physically abused, secluded in a room numerous times and handcuffed by a school police officer.
According to The Appeal, a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court last year and alleges that the young boy was involved in a series of escalating incidents at Pittsburgh Liberty K-5 between 2015 and 2017.
His mother, Armani Turner, says the alleged abuse began in kindergarten and continued through first grade. She also says she sought therapy for her child, who has since been diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder, a disease discovered in children who are “uncooperative, defiant, and hostile toward peers, parents, teachers, and other authority figures.”
Fela Turner, the child’s grandmother, says she’s outraged. “I’m angry, I’m not surprised,” she told WPXI in November. “I’m just mad it happened to someone in my family.”
Turner claims in the lawsuit that Liberty K-5 did not give the boy a special education evaluation that would have provided him with additional support, including an aide and sensory breaks. Instead, he was repeatedly punished for his behavior, which allegedly included walking out of the classroom, screaming, lashing out at teachers, and throwing furniture. He was also allegedly secluded in a room alone.
According to the family, Pittsburgh’s school system harshly punishes Black boys and offers them the least amount of access to special education.
On January 15, attorneys for the seven-year-old’s family filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the child. It also attempts to defend students with disabilities or those who should be identified as such “who have been or will be unlawfully handcuffed or restrained by school police officers or District personnel in Pittsburgh Public Schools.”
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