Advocay Needed- Court Decision- Is your challenged child being abused in class?

Parents please be aware and very careful

Subject: Advocacy Needed – Court Decision

Court Decision – Placing Tape Recorder on Disalbed Child Going to School

The attached case finds in a civil matter (the Stefan case) that it is a felony for a parent of a disabled, 10-year old child who is non-verbal to place a tape recording on her child (see pages 16-17).

While I do not agree with the decision, everyone needs to know this federal court decision regarding state law is contrary to parents being able to legally place a tape recorder on their children with disabilities in the public school setting. Perhaps it would be different if the parents told the school district and all personnel in advance. However, in one of my cases, the parents told the school attorney in writing that the child would come to school with a tape recording, asking the school attorney to tell everyone involved, but an ALJ nevertheless ruled it still was a secret recording and was thus not admissible. At least in that case, it should not be an alleged felony, because everyone was put on notice through their attorney they had no right of privacy, for they had been told in advance the child would be taping his day at school.

I do not know if the decision is going to be appealed by counsel in Stefan’s case, but I hope so, yet this may not result in the decision being overturned.

I believe we need to set up a committee (maybe the GAO and other state organizations could help, since they have the people and counsel on staff) to try to get the law regarding recordings changed when it involves disabled children (given how it is being interpreted). It is the ONLY way to protect disabled children and for parents to really know what goes on during their day. Neurotypical children can come home and tell their parents, but many children with more significant disabilities cannot accurately relate or relate at all what happens to them when they are at school.

We thought for years and years we were facing a brick all stopping seclusion, yet concerted efforts prevailed. Maybe we can change the law in this regard.

We could enlist police officers, psychologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, educators, child abuse experts, counselors, social workers, parents of children with disabilities, attorneys, advocates, ministers, state organizations, national organizations, perhaps hospitals, nurses, school nurses, and more to write letters about the absolute need for a law allowing parents of children with special needs to have the right to place tape recorders on their children during their school day as long as they inform district personnel (the principal, teacher, and therapists). This is more than fair, and it is very much needed to proactively protect these children. We also need lobbyists – I know one lobbyist who is a mom of a child with special needs. Perhaps corporations which generously donate to elected officials might back the cause. It would be a LARGE undertaking, but I’m willing to donate some time. Please feel free to send this email to others.

To me, it should be a crime to not allow a parent to tape record her disabled child’s day, regardless of where that child is. The law should not prevent parents from protecting their children, and a school building is a PUBLIC setting, not a private setting. No one in a public setting with a child (disabled or not) present should have any right to privacy.



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About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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2 Responses to Advocay Needed- Court Decision- Is your challenged child being abused in class?

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