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Special Needs Children Are At Risk for Injury from Being Pushed or Locked in Closets in Schools – Lawsuit Filed in West Hartford, Connecticut

By Jeremy Vishno, Attorney, and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


The Hartford Courant Newspaper website reported that the West Hartford, Connecticut Board of Education was recently sued by the mother of a child who was injured in the school system. The lawsuit alleges that a school employee (special needs paraprofessional) caused injury to a special needs / special education child when she slammed a door on his toe as she was putting him into a closet for disciplinary purposes. The boy’s foot was partially in the doorway at the time. As a result thereof, the boy suffered a serious personal injury to his toe.

In many schools throughout the nation, it has been reported that teachers, paraprofessionals, aides, and / or school officials / administrators have used closets and small spaces for disciplinary purposes. This type of punishment is akin to imprisoning the child rather than serving as any constructive disciplinary measure. In many instances, the thought of being locked or pushed into a closet even further aggravates the special needs student. Whether the issue is attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, behavioral problems, autism, or learning disability, locking up a child in a small and dark area typically is not the best way to discipline the child. Closets should be used to store boxes, school supplies, and brooms . . . Closets should not be used to lock children up in our school systems.

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