(WQOW) - An
investigation into the deaths of several children across the country brings up
memories of a case right here in western Wisconsin.
Wednesday night, Nightline will air an ABC News investigation. It examines how restraints and seclusion have
been used to deal with behavioral issues for children with autism or other
One major concern is there is no
agreed upon national standard for teachers or providers.
The ABC News investigation reminded
us of seven year-old Angie Arndt. She
died six years ago in Rice
Lake. Investigators say
she suffocated, after being restrained by a staff member at a clinic.
"She was a great
girl, she's greatly missed everyday... it's still hard to talk about," says
Donna Pavlik, Angie Arndt's foster mom.
Not a day goes by that Donna doesn't
think about Angie.
before she passed we had signed a sustaining care contract so she could live
with us forever but we could still have help from other people to help support
her," says Donna.
Court records show Angie died after
an employee at the Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinic held her face-first
on the floor while holding her legs, and another employee covered her upper
body with his for half an hour.
"She had just
started, she had only been there six weeks. She went mornings five days a week,"
Her death led to a 60-day jail
sentence for the counselor, and the clinic being shut down.
"It can't get
forgotten," says Donna.
It also led to a new state law, Act
125, restricting the use of seclusion and restraint methods for behavioral
problems in Wisconsin.
It was just enacted in September of this year.
But Wisconsin is only one of 17 states
nationwide that has laws in place that restrict the use of force and restraint
to control behavior. ABCNnews is investigating deaths across the country
because of these methods .
"The concern is
well-placed because this continues to be a problem across the country,
different kinds of restraints where students end up being suffocated sometimes
by big burly teachers and tiny kids are, if not killed, are severely injured or
traumatized in ways that are very hard for these students to recover from, so
it continues to be a problem," says ABC News' Chief Investigative Correspondent
Congress has been
looking into a federal law that would restrict the use of seclusion and
restraint methods, but it's been stalled.
to a federal law that would set standards by the school superintendents who say
they don't want a national standard, they want leeway at the local level to use
techniques and judgment on their own, they're afraid that if the standards are
set, they'll just get in trouble, so they're fighting the proposed law
standards right now, and that law is stalled in Washington because of that
opposition," says Ross.
The Disability Rights of Wisconsin Group
says while Act 125 certainly helps protect kids and does require training, that
training doesn't go far enough.
They say there needs to be more
training about disabilities like autism, and there needs to be more monitoring
The ABC News
investigation will air Wednesday night on Nightline, right after our ten o'clock
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