The mother of a 7-year-old girl with disabilities decided to drop into her daughter’s school in Fresno, CA. She surprise her with a special lunch date, and her good idea turned to horror when she walked into the special education classroom to see the girl locked up in a makeshift “cage,” wearing a soiled diaper.
The Viking Elementary teacher, Teresa MonPere, who is responsible for incarcerating the special student, was immediately put on leave after the girl’s mother, Ledelldra Brooks, alerted police and school staff. However, the FresnoBee reported that MonPere managed to get a new teaching job at another school in the area since the incident.
The discovery originally took place on May 27; however, Brooks has now filed a claim against the daughter’s former teacher, as a precursor to a formal lawsuit.
Brooks said her child was kept in a dangerous enclosure constructed from a toddler gate and a crib attached to the bookshelves, according to CBSSanFrancisco. Police dismantled the apparatus upon Brooks’ call to them after making the startling find.
The isolated student is intellectually disabled and suffers from a seizure disorder. She was one of seven special needs students in the class, a teacher’s aide told police.
After learning about the allegation that the detainment was abusive, Viking’s school district searched the majority of other classrooms on various campuses within their boundaries to see if there were any other enclosures such as this.
“We take these situations very seriously,” District spokeswoman Micheline Golden told the FresnoBee. “We conducted a thorough investigation consistent with our personnel procedures. I can’t share any outcome of that investigation because it is a personnel issue.”
School District Trustee Carol Mills, identified the allegation as a serious matter; however, she blamed the teacher’s poor decision on not having been sufficiently trained in managing challenged children.
“It seems there is a need for more training for special ed aides — on how to handle the students and on their rights and responsibilities.” Mills said in an email to the Superintendent.
Brooks’ still has her concerns and feels the district has not done enough to remedy this incident and discipline MonPere, so she’s ensuring retribution through pursuing the lawsuit.
“I honestly want the public to know what’s going on behind special education, what went on in my daughter’s class,” the frustrated mother said in a statement Thursday.
What say you? Was the makeshift enclosure abusive? Should the school district do more? And, most importantly, should the teacher responsible be allowed to have a new position working with children now? Sound off in the comments!