DeSoto Mother Concerned About Classroom Discipline

(DeSoto County, MS) Jayna Smith says she got a shock when her son came home from school with bruises recently.

”He finally, with tears in his eyes, and stuttering, he finally told me a teacher and he named the person by name and said, ‘He did it to me.'”

Smith’s son has Asperger’s and is in a special needs class at an elementary school in Southaven.

His mother says he has outbursts, but they’re not violent.

”He’s never put himself in a situation of hurting someone else or hurting himself at any point in time.”

DeSoto School leaders wouldn’t comment on the specific case, but say teachers and assistants are trained in how to restrain special needs students.

When any child is hurting himself or others, trained staff can use passive restraints. The goal is to diffuse the behavior to prevent a crisis situation.

School leaders say the policy is to use a kind of “bear hug,” but Smith says the injuries to her son’s wrists don’t line up with that explanation.

Since the incident, she has sought the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi and a special needs advocacy group.

Smith says she’s upset her son got the bruises, and she’s even more upset she had to hear it from her son and not the school.

Smith says the school has a duty to tell parents what’s going on.

”It leads to a lot of suspicion that is this really even happening that my son’s having this outburst or is this gentleman not handling things the appropriate way and are there other kids involved?”

DeSoto school leaders say they’re investigating and the adult in question is still on the job.

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