Most parents with children of disabilities are not strangers to challenges, injustice, and hardships, but when one Indiana family received their daughter from the school bus with duct tape wrapped around her ankles and holding her shoes on, they were outraged reports the Indy Star on Feb. 5. Shaylyn Searcy is an eight-year-old girl with down syndrome. Her mother readily admits that she doesn't always like to put her shoes on, so the school took it upon themselves to duct tape her shoes to her feet with industrial strength tape.
In the past, Elizabeth, Shaylyn's mother, says that they just called her and told her about the incident and she would go right down to assist, she doesn't understand why the school couldn't have done the same this time. Instead, Elizabeth and her husband Nate had to carry their little girl from the bus because she was unable to walk because her feet and ankles hurt badly. They immediately took their daughter to the school to demand an explanation and get assistance in removing the industrial strength tape that was so heavy it removed pieces of fabric from her socks and vinyl from her shoes. The school is choosing not to respond at this time.
Indiana is one of 20 states in the country that do not have any laws regarding restraints or unnecessary force be used on children with disabilities. A special needs advocacy group in Indiana is pushing for a bill to be passed that would make stricter laws on these sorts of things and would prevent special needs children from being harmed at school or in the public. Hopefully it passes, because these sorts of incidents are completely unacceptable to happen to any child.
Currently, an investigation is being held into the incident and state officials say that they will notify child protective services if it is warranted.