We have hired a new advocate focused on the abuse of children with disabilities in separate classrooms and separate schools.

More than 25,000 children are educated in self-contained classrooms in North Carolina. These are classrooms designated for children with behavioral or intellectual disabilities. There are an additional 1,800 students with disabilities who are educated in separate schools, completely segregated from their community and peers.

Sadly, separate settings leave students vulnerable to abuse, including the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint. In some cases, the children do not have the communication skills needed to tell their parents about what happened to them or if someone hurt them.

Our new advocate, Andrea Martinez, will monitor separate classrooms and schools, and she will investigate allegations of abuse. She also will educate school staff about how abuse happens and best practices for working with children with disabilities. We were able to hire Andrea thanks to a grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission.