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9:01 PM, May. 31, 2011

Great Falls Public Schools discriminated against an autistic boy at North Middle School when it did not take adequate action after hearing that two teaching aides had abused him in a special education classroom, according to a ruling by the Montana Human Rights Bureau that was released today.


The case was filed in June 2009 by Tifonie Schilling, acting on behalf of her son Garrett. Garrett Schilling, 16, was a student at North Middle School in 2008 when two aides, Julie Parish and Kristina Kallies, allegedly used abusive methods of punishment against him by running his head under running water during class. Criminal charges against the two women were dropped earlier this year.


Garrett Schilling has Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition on the autism spectrum, and has the cognitive abilities of a 3-year-old.


The district is now required to submit its policy for reporting abuse for the bureau’s review. The ruling states that the district should have a policy that requires any discrimination to be reported immediately and that all special education employees be trained in the policy. If the policies are not up to par, the district may have to hire an outside expert to review them and recommend new policies.


Superintendent Cheryl Crawley said that the district already changed its policies ahead of the ruling and had no reason to think it would not be accepted by the bureau.


Tifonie Schilling’s requested damages of $4 million were not awarded.


Source:

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011110531010



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