CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)– Glendale School District is under investigation for alleged teacher abuse within their life skills classroom.
Multiple parents of the life skills class have come to the board expressing concerns about their children being put in a restraint high chair for behavior purposes. Under Pennsylvania law, it is illegal to use forms of restraint against a child unless they present a danger to other students and employees.
Kimberly Capenos, Chairperson for IU8 Right to Education Task Force, represents the parents from the class. She said that these chairs were not used for their normal purposes.
“These chairs were being used not for the purpose the chairs were supposed to be used for,” Capenos said. “These chairs are being used for behaviors, and they’re being used for a long period of time. That a great concern to the parents to find out that their child was being illegally restrained in school.”
Students within the life skills class have disabilities that limit their movement or verbal abilities. Disabilities include cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis. Since the school district is small, these students are combined into one class.
According to Capenos, seven chairs were used between the upper and lower schools. It is alleged that these restraints have been going on since 2019. Capenos was brought in by parents back in January. In the January meeting, the parents asked for cameras in classrooms to monitor what’s happening.
“They wanted to know what was happening,” Capenos said. “How their children were being treated? They wanted transparency on the part of the school about what they were going to do about it. Many parents feel that has not happened at all.”
Capenos said that the lack of transparency is the primary reason behind most parents’ frustration. According to Capenos, they are unaware of the state of the investigation. They want to understand what steps are being taken to reassure them that this won’t happen again.
“The investigations are still going, and they’re not telling them what’s going on with the investigation,” Capenos said. “They’re not letting them know the findings of the investigation. More importantly, what’s going to happen in the future. What steps are they taking to make sure these classrooms are top of the line, following the law, and the best for these kiddos.”
The board did not mention any comment about the investigation. According to Capenos, the investigation is ongoing.