While every child faces fears and experiences anxiety that they must overcome as they mature, children on the autism spectrum and others with special needs can find the world on a daily basis to be a confusing, threatening, and chaotic place. This heightens the fears and anxieties special needs children perceive and requires a nurturing, compassionate response from those entrusted with their care.Schools with special needs students must train their staff specifically on the issues and challenges special needs students face, and supervise staff to ensure they are interacting with students in an appropriate and professional manner.
It is hard to ignore the issue of whether school safety actually exists, especially when shocking and unbelievable news coverage bombards parents daily. The question often becomes, “where and when is a school district responsible if harm is caused to a child?”
California law imposes on schools a duty to supervise at all times the conduct of students while on the school grounds and to enforce those rules and regulations necessary for the student’s protection. (Cal. Gov. Code 815.2(a)). In other words, employees of a school district have an obligation to supervise students for their protection.
One San Jose mother recently experienced a parent’s worst nightmare: Her disabled son told her that he was being molested by a school employee and no one would believe him. The mother pulled her son from the school, but her accusations were ignored by both school administrators and the police until she contacted until she contacted attorneys Christopher Dolan and Heather Sweeney of the Dolan Law Firm.
Chris Dolan, owner of The Dolan Law Firm, and Ms. Sweeney are helping the mother take legal action against Achieve Kids, a school for developmentally disabled students. The mother says that her autistic son was molested by a 33-year-old teacher’s aide at the school named Waking Bailey.