The world is watching.
It's time to end the abuse.
Note: Please sign this petition to help my son, and to halt the abuse of special education students in the school district referenced in this diary.
And if you are new to this story, please reference the following diaries:
A few weeks ago, I first brought this story to the attention of this site when I wrote, Our Autistic Son was Handcuffed and Arrested in School, We Were Not Notified, in hopes of exposing what my wife and I believe to be the abuse that our son has received at the hands of various authority figures.
In December, 2012, a teenager went to his public school, much like any other day. The boy was an autistic special education student, who is significantly learning disabled and on a regimen of prescription medications for a number of psychiatric disorders. That day, the boy's parents began to worry when he did not come home after school.We also spoke to reporter, Sarah Burge, from the Inland Empire Press Enterprise, in the article titled Undercover deputy targeted mentally disabled teen, parents say. Since then, the support we've received from the Kos community, and throughout the world, has been overwhelming.
What the parents did not know was that early on that morning, armed police officers had entered the boy's classroom, handcuffed him, and had taken him away to be interrogated without a call to his parents or any attorney, then locked up for several days.
The boy is our son.
Recently, I've been quiet at this site, while we've been involved in an expedited due process hearing against the Temecula Valley Unified School District. Here's the latest info.
As mentioned previously, there were two components at play - the criminal and the educational. On the criminal side, a judge ruled, in January, that our son's case will be dismissed after 6 months with no finding of guilt. On the educational side, the district is attempting to permanently expel our son from all of their district schools. We filed an expedited due process hearing against the district, and a favorable ruling will likely place our son back in his school, which is what he strongly desires.
On this past Friday, February 22, the closing arguments were delivered. The judge's decision is expected to be received within 10 business days.
We are being very careful with what we reveal at this time, so please indulge me in the limits to what I am going to write. When I refer to "We", I am referring to our son, my wife, and me. Prior to the start of this hearing, we believed this to be a very strong case. At this time, we believe that even more strongly, and I write this with great emphasis. We also have a legal team that is supportive, and emotionally invested in this case.
In regards to the hearing, we had made a rare move, in that we had opened the hearing to the press and the public. Perhaps it goes without saying that it appears that this was not a popular decision among officials within the school district. On all days of the hearing, there have been members of the public present and observing the hearing, and at various times, there have been members of the press present.
We have had numerous opportunities to speak to various press outlets during this time, including those with extensive reach, but have declined. After the judge's decision is received, it is likely that we will be making a major announcement, and we will keep you informed.
I have previously written this in a comment:
On the night our son was arrested, my wife, who is the most beautiful and brilliant person you will ever hope to know, asked the universe for an army. On the day after that, our army began to arrive, one at a time. After a couple of weeks, the army stood at 7 strong.You are our son's Orange Army. Because of the Orange Army, the petition for our son now stands at 7,500 strong. The Orange Army has arrived from more than 60 countries, and 6 continents. In the world map image below, those countries which are colored gray are the countries from which nobody has signed. All countries that are creme colored, except for the United States, represent the Orange Army.
During the holidays, she and I engaged in the superstitious practice of pulling a wishbone. Her wish, she later shared, was for a bigger army.
The bigger army has now arrived in the form of the Kos Community.
So, while we await the judge's decision, let's keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed the petition, please do so. The district has shared that only three people within the district knew about the undercover operation while it was occurring, school board member Bob Brown, who until recently was board president, Superintendent Tim Ritter, and the Director of Child Welfare and Attendance, Michael Hubbard. Each time the petition is signed, those three people, as well as all other board members, and the Director of Special Education will receive the petition in their email, putting them on notice that their actions in this matter will not remain a secret.
Here are their email addresses and phone numbers (where available), which are part of the public record, and are posted on the TVUSD website.
The three who knew about the undercover operation, while it was happening:
Timothy Ritter, email@example.com - (951) 506-7904
Bob Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Hubbard, email@example.com - (951) 506-7983
The director of special education, who has been repeatedly criticized by parents of special education students, who have expressed opinions that she has enabled a hostile environment towards special education students and parents who advocate for their special education students:
Kimberly Velez, firstname.lastname@example.org - (951) 506-7072
The remaining board of education members, who, according to our understanding at this time, were unaware of this undercover operation while it was in progress:
Dr. Kristi Rutz-Robbins, email@example.com
Richard Shafer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vincent O'Neal, email@example.com
Dr. Allen Pulsipher, firstname.lastname@example.org
And here is the TVUSD website address:
Here is a new and related story about a trial that began for one of the students arrested in this undercover operation, which was labeled "Operation Glass House".
A Temecula Valley High School student accused of selling marijuana to an undercover officer on campus last year was ordered to stand trial on felony drug charges Wednesday, Feb. 20.
(Student's name redacted by dsnodgrass), now 19, was one of 22 students arrested in December after two Riverside County sheriff’s deputies posed for a semester as students at Temecula Valley and Chaparral high schools. Most of the students were charged in juvenile court. But (redacted), who was 18 when authorities allege he sold small amounts of marijuana to the undercover deputy, was charged as an adult.
Kathleen Pedro, (redacted's) deputy public defender, raised concerns about the police interrogation of (redacted) without a lawyer present in light of the fact that he is a special education student.
Authorities have said they arrested 15 students at Temecula Valley, five at Chaparral and two at Rancho Vista Continuation High School, but officials from the Temecula Valley Unified School District and the Sheriff's Department have declined to say how many of those students were in special education.
There is much more that has occurred - and is occurring - than you realize. And while we had originally suspected that very bad things happened, the more things we discover, the more disturbing this story becomes.
We have the chance to enable major change for disabled children, but we can only do this with your help.
The world is watching.
It's time to end the abuse.