Oakland Unified Discriminated Against Boy With Autism: Feds | NBC Bay Area
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Oakland Unified Discriminated Against Boy With Autism: Feds

'It really hurt,' said the student from the Anova Center who was restrained 92 times in 11 months

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    "It really hurt. They put their shins on the back of my knees, pressing really hard." That's how Oakland Unified School District student Stuart Candell, 12, a boy with autism, described in a YouTube video how he was restrained by adults at a school in Concord when he was 9 years old. Jean Elle reports. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016)

    "It really hurt. They put their shins on the back of my knees, pressing really hard."

    That's how Oakland Unified School District student Stuart Candell, 12, a boy with autism, described in a YouTube video how he was restrained by adults at a school in Concord when he was 9 years old.

    The U.S. Department of Education found that Oakland Unified discriminated against Stuart, according to a settlement announcement Tuesday that requires the school district to terminate contracts with all providers that use restraint and develop an education plan for Stuart that addresses the lasting effects of his condition.

    Attorney Suge Lee of advocacy agency Disability Rights California filed the civil rights complaint against the school district after she learned Stuart's mother complained about the treatment to no avail.

    "Prone restraint means the child is put face down on the ground with two or three adults holding him down and an adult holding his arms and legs," Lee said.

    Stuart, who has autism and special behavioral needs, was restrained at the Anova Center for Education 92 times during one school year, the Education Department found. The federal agency says the district violated Stuart's rights to a free appropriate public education by subjecting him to restraint followed by seclusion.

    Stuart was sent to the Concord school after having trouble at other campuses due to behavior issues, according to the East Bay Times. Lee said Stuart now attends a different school.

    NBC Bay Area reached out to Anova staff Tuesday evening, but the school is currently on summer break and did not respond.

    The district released a statement saying it is committed to providing a safe environment for all students.

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