MASON CITY – A Mason City mom told NIT that she is seeking answers about what she calls a “lack of consequences” after her son was restrained at school and ended up with bruises on his arms.
Amanda Reinhart reached out to NIT to describe what happened to her son, 7-year-old Daniel, while at school last week.
“Daniel is 7 and approximately 50 pounds,” she said. “School staff restrained him [on October 21] to the point he has bigger than a quarter size bruises on each arm.”
Amanda said that she spoke to the teacher who restrained Daniel at Harding School afterwards, whom she said is Vicki Davison, trying to find out what happened.
“The story I got from the teacher who did the restraint was that my son was being disruptive in class, refusing to do his work. He was removed … to what they call a blue room. At this point I was told my son had raised his fists to the teacher but did not hit her or even swing at her. She states that my son then said he was going to choke himself so she restrained him. She holds the arms about wrist/hand area and crosses his arms over his body until he is calm. My son stated he repeatedly told her she was hurting him and says he was crying but she told him she wasn’t going to let him go until he was quiet.”
Amanda said that Daniel has been restrained at school before, but apparently had never been bruised in any of the previous episodes. Daniel is a special needs student at Harding, and has suffered abuse at another school previously, Amanda said.
In the wake of the incident, Amanda has contacted the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Mason City police.
“DHS won’t help and neither will the police,” Amanda said.
“The police officer said he was given a completely different story than I was and told me ‘well sometimes when people are restrained or arrested bruising happens’ and they won’t file assault charges because he was being restrained for safety.”
Captain Mike McKelvey of the Mason City police department told NIT that “The police were contacted. The alleged incident was reported to have occurred at Harding School. No law violations were apparent. Police are no longer looking into this matter.”
“The school is now giving me the same story they gave the cop but it’s slightly different each time,” Amanda continued. “Ms. Davison had told the police officer my son was belligerent, was threatening to kill staff, swearing and hitting and kicking her. So her story changed a lot from the time we talked Tuesday afternoon to when the officer spoke to her Wednesday morning.”
Amanda is now completing paperwork with the Mason City School District. She is also looking to file an ethics complaint with officials in Des Moines.
Amanda says Danny “is still being very quiet and unlike himself”.
Mason City School Superintendent Anita Micich did respond to NIT when asked about the incident, and says a restraint of a child is “always a last choice”.
“The Mason City Community School District serves students with varying disabilities as per the requirements by law. We train all of our staff who work with students who have behavioral needs and/or disabilities in Crisis Prevention Institute intervention training which is reviewed yearly. All of our staff who work with students who may require these types of supports and interventions are certified in CPI yearly. The training is extensive and does include how to appropriately use physical restraint. At those rare times when students are unable to regain instructional control and have been unable to respond to the protocols in the CPI process staff may have to restrain in order to keep the student and others safe. A restraint is always the last choice. The ultimate goal in the CPI protocol process is to have the student calm down and be able to return to the normal schedule rather than have to engage in a restraint.. There are many requirements schools and districts must follow when engaging in a restraint. The dignity and safety of the child is always our priority.”