Officials say pupil is violent Richmond County Board of Education seeks to have unruly child removed from classroom Web posted Friday, March 9, 2001
By Justin Martin
Staff Writer In what could become a precedent setting court case at the state and national levels, the Richmond County Board of Education has authorized attorney Pete Fletcher to seek a court order to remove a violent and unruly child from a first-grade classroom.
The unidentified child, a special education pupil, has been terrorizing his fellow pupils and his teachers at Garret Elementary School for some time, according to school officials and parents familiar with situation.
``We've got a real crisis in our schools,'' school board member Kenneth Echols said. ``If we don't react to what's going on, we're going to have a problem. If we wait till something happens, it's going to be too late.
``There's a student here that is extremely violent, the parents want him to remain in school and by law we have to do that, but it's gotten to the point where this child has actually choked a student, has stabbed a student with a pencil, has beaten students and gone into rages and destroyed rooms,'' Mr.
``One person told me it looked like a tornado had come through there and the students have kind of accepted it. They have to go out into the halls and sit on the floor and do their homework while this student is in a rage.'' The child even stabbed his teacher with a pencil, sending her to the hospital, school officials said.
Still, the parents of the child have refused to have their child removed from the classroom, school officials said.
Dr. Charles Larke, Richmond County superintendent of schools, said he instructed the school's attorney to prepare the proper paperwork and take it to a judge as soon as possible. Dr. Larke said the state Department of Education has been apprised of the situation, as has state Superintendent of Schools Linda Schrenko, U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood and others.
In the meantime, Dr. Larke said, a plain clothes police officer and an extra teacher have been assigned to the classroom of the pupil.
A 1997 amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act gives the child the right to an education in a mainstream classroom setting.
The National School Boards Association and the Georgia School Boards Association have been working to get the law changed, school board member Y.N.
``It was written with good intentions, but it has turned out to be a nightmare for us,'' Mr. Myers said.
Mr. Echols said the other pupils in the class have rights, too.
``We've come to a point now where we're going to have to do something about this, and quite frankly, if we have to make a motion to take this thing to court, it's come to that point, because I don't want to get a call from someone saying a child was killed today,'' Mr. Echols said.
His remarks brought a loud ovation from the crowd of parents and teachers in attendance at Thursday night's board meeting.
``If we have to challenge the courts, my golly, let's challenge the courts because I think it's time we need to be proactive rather than reactive,'' Mr.
Dr. Larke and the rest of the school board agreed.
``A lot of you know I'm an advocate of special ed students, but then it comes to a time where these kids need to be removed out of a classroom,'' school board member Marion Barnes said. ``If it takes going to court, getting sued, hell, let's go to court and get sued ... We need to do something about this situation, and if it takes breaking the law then we have to break the law.''