Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bringing It On Yourself

A parent called me recently in a panic. A video came had been stolen from their child's backpack at school. What is worse, when they contacted the school an employee familiar with the child said: "he brought it on himself." The employee dismissed the parent's concerns and treated her as though she had no right to complain. Only later did we find out that there was in fact to be investigation of the incident.

How can a child with special needs bring anything like this on themselves? Yes they occasionally provoke other students and often lack the social knowledge to discontinue such provocation at an appropriate point. Nevertheless, these children are not responsible for security or the protection of private property on campus: the school employees are. If an item is stolen the fault is not on the student but on the school. The school is responsible for discipline on campus, not the parent. The negligence of the victim is not a defense for the perpetrator.

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