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Massachusetts Child Abuse?: More Allegations Accuse Lexington Public Schools of Harsh Disciplinary Tactics

Another family is alleging Massachusetts child abuse involving the Lexington public schools. 17-year-old Robert Ernst, who is now a senior at Lexington high school, said that when he was a third grader at Estabrook, teachers and aides would physically restrain him. Ernst, who has Asperger’s, claims that teachers would hold his hands and keep him in a chair or on the floor. His mom is said to have received 19 reports of such restraint incidents occurring September 9 and October 15, 2003.

Earlier this month, The New York Times published an opinion piece from journalist Bill Lichtenstein, who recounted how his daughter, who attended a Lexington school when she was a kindergartener, was disciplined multiple times by being kept alone in a room. Although some of the details of his account have since come under dispute-including the condition that he and his then-wife found her and the location and type of room she was contained in-his claims have raised questions about the disciplinary methods employed by Lexington school staff. (Lichtenstein’s family would go on to sue the school system for Massachusetts injuries to a minor and settle their case. He says his daughter continues to be traumatized by what happened.)

Ernst is not the only person to come forward since Lichtenstein’s article was published. At a school committing meeting on September 11, Barbara Visovatti said her son too had been moved to a “quiet room” at least three times in 2008. She said this caused him emotional trauma and he began confining himself in their hall closet while lying in fetal position.

If you believe that your child was the victim of abuse or neglect or other inappropriate behavior while under someone else’s supervision, you could have grounds for a Lexington, Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit. Kids are vulnerable to those charged with overseeing, teaching, or counseling them. It is easy for to not dispute or challenge any inappropriate or harsh behavior under the assumption that the grown up knows what is best and/or is in charge.

Schools can be held liable for Massachusetts inadequate supervision, child abuse, sex abuse, or other acts causing injury to a student. You should contact a Boston personal injury law firm right away.

A Terrifying Way to Discipline Children, New York Times, September 8, 2012

Family brings new allegations of abuse in Lexington schools, Wicked Local, September 19, 2012
Lexington schools chief asks for state review of time-out rooms, Boston.com, September 13, 2012

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Toddler Involved in Worcester, Massachusetts Fall Accident From Window
, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 4, 2012