Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

February 11, 2013

Duct tape incident under investigation

By Brenda L. Holmes

INDIANAPOLIS — Officials at the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township are investigating an incident involving a special needs child.

The investigation started when Nathaniel and Elizabeth Searcy’s 8-year-old daughter came home from school Feb. 4 with her shoes were duct taped to her feet, according to the Westside Flyer’s news partner, Fox 59.

Nathaniel Searcy said he knew something was wrong when he and his wife met the school bus that day. The bus driver told them they needed to take a look at the little girl’s feet. That’s when they learned that duct tape had been wrapped tightly around her ankles, strapping her shoes to her feet.

“When she gets tired, she wants to get her shoes off,” Searcy said. “I mean we’re home before she comes home from school, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t call us. I just don’t know why it was any different this time.”

Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township spokesperson Mary Lang issued the following statement:

“We have had the opportunity to meet with the parents of the student involved in this reported incident and have begun our own investigation. We have notified the Indiana Department of Child Services of the incident, and if warranted, we will file a report with the agency. We have also involved our own law enforcement officers in the investigation. When the investigation into this incident is concluded, we will take appropriate action.”

When the Westside Flyer requested an interview for this story, Lang was out of the office caring for a sick child.

“But I can tell you the investigation into this incident is continuing and a decision about discipline for the employees being investigated won’t be made until the investigation is complete,” she said in an e-mail.

Lang also issued a press release about the incident and the district’s efforts to ensure its educators understand techniques involved in nonviolent crisis intervention.

“Ongoing training in this approach, which helps teachers practice safe and effective behavior management techniques, already exists in the MSD of Wayne Township,” the press release read. “This training reflects the standards outlined in a district policy called ‘Use of Seclusion, Restraint, and Aversion With Students,’ which has been in place since 2010. In the wake of this week’s incident involving a student receiving special education services, the district will review nonviolent crisis intervention techniques with each of its special education practitioners to ensure the incident under investigation is not repeated.”

Lang said the district cannot share specifics of the investigation involving the student but can confirm reports that the district has offered the family the opportunity to move their child to another school in the district, and that the family will be doing that.

It is our practice to revisit a special education student’s programming with his or her family and set up meetings to review services. We will be doing that with the family involved in this incident.

“The investigation into this incident continues, involving district administrators with the MSD of Wayne Township, the Indiana Department of Child Services, and law enforcement. During the investigation, the employees involved are on leave and will not have contact with students,” Lang’s prepared statement read.

To review the district’s policy on the use of seclusion, restraint, and aversion with students, visit the website at http://www.wayne.k12.in.us/district/policy/pdf/J_files/JKG.pdf.