JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 mother is speaking out against Valley View Elementary, after she said her child, who has a form of muscular dystrophy, was restrained in a posture chair.
JoAnne Powell not only has the Department of Human Services investigating the incident, but she's also moved her family out of the Valley View School District in hopes that something like this won't happen again
"I want to make sure this chair is not used at Valley View again. Because that could've caused him harm. Thank goodness it didn't...but it could've," she said.
Powell said she found out about the incident from her son.
"He said, "I was tied to a chair today." He said "they strapped me here, here and here," JoAnne said, demonstrating straps across the chest, lap and legs. She said her son demonstrated being strapped in with his arms down by his side.
Powell said her son's Special Education teacher at Valley View strapped him into a posture chair for throwing a tantrum in class. They told Powell her son was slapping at his teacher and her aide. Powell says not only is this abusing the purpose of the chair, but with her son's muscular disorder, could've harmed him.
"Any type of exertion to his muscles is damaging and they don't rebuild," she said.
She said though he wasn't injured in the incident, she's upset with how the school handled the situation.
"They also said they told him if he hit a teacher again they'd call the police and have him arrested."
Powell said the school isn't denying they restrained him, but feels like they aren't taking the matter as seriously as she'd hope. Region 8 News contacted Valley View Superintendent, Radius Baker, who said because the incident is under investigation, they cannot comment at this time.
Valley View Elementary Principal, Pam Clark did explain restraints to Region 8 News in a voicemail saying: "Valley View does not use restraint as a means of discipline. That is not common practice. It's not in our policy to use a restraint and if any restraint is used with a child, it is just for the safety of the child. It's just to keep himself from hurting himself or anyone else that's in the classroom."
Powell said they told her differently. She said this type of discipline is outdated.
"It's not a form of discipline for kids. You're not supposed to tie kids to chairs or lock them in rooms...that was years ago, that's not today. Our teachers are better than that. Valley View teachers are better than that," Powell said.
Powell told us that DHS has 30 days to complete their investigation into the incident.
She also took this to the licensure board, who said they plan to recommend an investigation at their next board meeting on October 12th.
The Board of Education, however, will not investigate. As Powell said she was told that since there is not a policy against restraints in school, they cannot file a complaint.
We'll continue to track the status of this story and update you once the investigation is complete.