Criminal Charge Following Meltdown

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Criminal Charge Following Meltdown

Postby sgordo88 » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:25 pm

In brief, Paul is high-functioning, with autism, and with a low-average, full scale IQ. He struggles with social-emotional issues and, by estimate, has the emotional age of a 5-7 year old. For example, he still will engage with videos and stories of Thomas the Tank Engine and Peanuts. Over the past four years of school in the local school district the following events contributed to an increase in his maladaptive behaviors:

August 2011-September 2013: In July of 2011, our family moves to Marina, California in Monterey County. Paul is enrolled in Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD). MPSUD offers as Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) a special day class (SDC) for students with autism. In spite of the fact that Paul's previous school for the past 1.5 years was a Non-Public School (NPS) for students with emotional/behavioral problems, this autism SDC, along with a one-on-one aide is all MPUSD offers as FAPE.
The one-on-one aide, Mr. Lozano, who previously had worked with a local behavioral intervention program called TUCCI, was particularly effective managing Paul's behaviors and was able to give Paul frequent changes of environment when he began early signs of escalating unwanted behaviors, especially aggression, high anxiety,and any signs of violence. TUCCI is a Non-Public Agency (NPS) that contracts for services with various other education and service providing agencies. Mr. Lozano was not hired as a TUCCI employee, but was exclusively under the employ of MPUSD during the time he worked with Paul in MPUSD.
Paul's Freshman and Sophomore years were not ideal, but his behaviors did not cause him to be sent home more than 2-3 times per month. Moreover, Paul has the ability/potential to succeed in general education classes, but, despite, our frequent requests for mainstreaming, it never really happened. It is important to emphasize that even during this time, it would still be suggested that we keep him home on days when the aide, Mr. Lozano, was absent. Also, because alarms triggered him to aggressive and violent behavior, he was often excluded from the emergency drills. These practices began a pattern of enabling Paul to escape the school environment when he showed signs of aggression.

October, 2013-2014, his Junior year of high school: One-on-one aide, Mr. Lozano, is out on extended leave. Up to this point his behaviors were reasonably managed and, for behavioral problems, he was sent home, as mentioned above, only infrequently. The aide never returns.

November-June, 2013-2014, violent and aggressive behaviors become more frequent and school does not have the effective one-on-one aide, Mr. Lozano, mentioned above, to manage his behavior, so school increasingly suggests he take him home early- often without paperwork and documentation of the early dismissal. MPUSD contends that IEP is complied with since the classroom aide would, as needed, act as Paul's one-on-one aide. Paul becomes increasingly reluctant to attend school and engage, when at, school.

2014-2015, his Senior year, new administration takes new stance with Paul's behavior. Pauls is sent home with increasing frequency. Paul refuses to attend school for the whole day. When at school, staff suggests he could come home early when he has behavioral problems or as a reward for cooperation with staff. Staff suggests we keep Paul home when an aide is not available, when teacher is absent, and/or when emergency drills, such as earthquake drill, are scheduled. Among Paul's known triggers is any emergency drill. I complain to the classroom teacher that he is being sent home without documentation and not being suspended. I implied that this was increasingly becoming a change of placement without an IEP.
In November, an accidental tripping of the fire alarm causes Paul to become aggressive and violent, as he usually does since his original one-on-one aide had left, where he hits staff. For this he is given a five-day suspension, which is his first suspension in MPUSD. A Manifestation Determination meeting is held and it is determined that the behavior was directly caused by his disability. An ABA-certified Behaviorist is finally hired (the district did not have one since the previous April) and the planning of a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) is begun. Also approved is an evaluation for 26.5 mental health counseling services. In December, 2014, both mental health counseling and BIP are approved. Paul, however, continues to refuse school on many days and no assistance is offered by MPUSD.
In January, 2015, even though his BIP calls for him to return to the classroom once he has de-escalated from unwanted behavior, which included violence towards staff, he is suspended again for an incidence of violence. This is also questionable considering a manifestation determination had already determined that this behavior was a direct result of his disability. The important fact is that Paul's aggressive/violent behavior was increasingly reinforced with escape from school, such as suspension or being sent home. For most of February, school had become such as hostile environment, Paul refused to attend at all. On a few occasions, over the previous two months of school, the police, were called to deal with Paul, even though, per the BIP, the support staff was supposed to deal with Paul and, as necessary, restrain him.
By the end of February, MPUSD put Paul on Home and Hospital placement through a 30 day administrative placement. Home and Hospital instruction began in early March, 2015, but the instructor stopped coming after the third week of March. Coincidentally, the Home and Hospital instruction, called for in the IEP, stopped at the same time as MPUSD reached news of our complaint to the California Department of Education.
By the end of May, 2015, Paul had received no Home and Hospital instruction, since March.The team agreed that a new placement was called for. Local day and residential programs for students with autism were to be investigated. In the meantime, we were told that since the Home and Hospital Instruction stopped in March, no teacher could be found to resume the instruction. So Paul continued to receive no instruction from MPUSD.
By June, 2015, with the assistance of Monterey County Behavioral Health, MPUSD had yet to find a day or residential placement for Paul. It was around this time, we retained the law firm of Ruderman and Knox, LLP, a firm that specializes in special education law, and a due process complaint was filed against MPUSD. The complaint included the many days Paul was sent or kept home, the failure to create and implement effective behavioral support/intervention plans, the failure to provide Home and Hospital instruction, and the failure to provide a long-term placement, such as a day or residential program.
By mid-July, MPUSD informed us that, since summer session had just ended, there would be a special education instructor available to provide Paul Home and Hospital instruction. This is leads directly to the event for which Paul is charged with a felony assault.

Please contact either of our attorneys for more information:

Our criminal defense attorney is Tom McMahon of Margolin and Lawrence, LLP., and may be contacted at:
(352) 359-1961

Our special education attorney is Daniel Shaw of Ruderman and Knox, LLP., and may be contacted at:
(805) 704- 2433

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