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District Faces Three Lawsuits Over Treatment Of Students
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 24, 2003

HOUSTON, TEXAS--The Klein Independent School District is facing three federal lawsuits filed within the last year over poor treatment of students with disabilities, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

The latest of those cases involves Lisa Calvin's son Adam. On November 11, Calvin arrived at Haude Elementary School to find 8-year-old Adam lying face-down on the classroom floor -- with his hands cuffed behind him.

"I could hear him begging," Calvin told a local radio station after the incident. "He was saying, 'please take these off' and he was crying. When I saw him on the floor, he was soaked in sweat."

A district police officer had handcuffed Adam after the boy had a tantrum.

"I heard the cop tell him, 'Boy when you calm down, I'll take these off of you.' (It was) what he was saying when I was coming down the hall," Calvin said.

Calvin filed a lawsuit against the district last month. The suit seeks $10 million in actual and punitive damages for constitutional and civil rights violations.

Parents of one of Adam's classmates, a boy who has Down syndrome, filed a suit against the district last May. The boy's parents want the school to have their son attend both regular and special education classes.

In August, parents of a middle school student with autism filed suit claiming the district violated the civil rights and academics of their child. That suit is in the process of being settled confidentially, the family's lawyer told the Houston Chronicle Wednesday.

In Adam's case, school officials said the boy attacked the assistant principal and others who tried to calm him after an angry outburst.

District Superintendent Jim Surratt said Adam had bitten and scratched teachers and aides and had knocked down equipment when district police were called.

Adam has not been back to school since the incident because district officials could not promise never to use handcuffs on him again, Calvin said.


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