New report describes abuse to special education students at Blue Creek Elementary

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A new report details shocking practices conducted at a local elementary school, and it involves special education students.

Disability Rights New York released the report on Friday. The 35-page document states faculty neglected and abused special education students at Blue Creek Elementary School.

“My kids went there, and we thought it was the best place,” Walt Adey said.

Adey moved to the North Colonie Central School District because of Blue Creek and the other schools in the district. He was disturbed to learn of the claims in the report.

“Children, no matter what their physical abilities or mental abilities, should not be treated like that,” he said. “They all should be, you know, treated like their own children.”

DRNY said it launched an investigation in 2014 after receiving several complaints about the safety of students with severe disabilities at the school. A new report reveals there were serious practices that put students with disabilities “at risk of serious injury, death, psychological harm, and educational neglect.”

The organization found the district used physical restraints repeatedly on three students instead of taking behavioral interventions. Staff who physically restrained students were not trained in the district’s protocol.

The report also states a bathroom was used as a quiet room for behavioral intervention.

RELATED: Report of neglect and abuse at Blue Creek Elementary School by Disability Rights New York

“They need a change,” Adey said. “If that’s what’s going on, that’s not the right thing to do.”

The report states the district’s practices now meet state and federal laws, but DRNY still urges the district to consider several recommendations.

North Colonie CSD Superintendent Joe Corr released the following statement regarding the report:

We have reviewed Disability Rights New York’s (DRNY) report, released April 21, related to our special education programs and services at Blue Creek Elementary School. The report confirms that North Colonie has taken multiple steps to resolve concerns first identified during the 2013-14 school year, and that our current policies and practices meet state and federal law and regulations.

This was the same conclusion reached by the New York State Education Department’s Office of Special Education in November 2015, after we fully implemented recommended changes to our policies, teacher training and internal record-keeping practices.

DRNY plays an important role in advocating for the needs of people with disabilities. This report provides suggestions for ways North Colonie can go above and beyond the requirements of state and federal law, and we will consider these ideas as we continue to evaluate ways to improve our programs for our students with disabilities and all of our students.

Adey hopes all issues are addressed.

“I’m hoping that the people involved are disciplined and get the right people in where there should be,” he said.

The district has not revealed the status of the employees involved. DRNY said it will continue to monitor the district to make sure students with disabilities are protected.

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