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Brooklyn, CT: Girl with ASD/ADHD/anxiety struggles to get accommodations in school

Jan 5, 2019, Norwich (CT) Bulletin: Girl chronicles self injuries when left alone at school BROOKLYN — On the afternoon of Oct. 27, 2017, Emma McBride, then a 15-year-old student at The Learning Clinic in Brooklyn, broke the tip of a mechanical pencil and carved the words “Help me” into her left forearm while segregated inside an unused office on the campus grounds. Then she pressed the point of the pencil to her neck. … Emma, an Andover resident diagnosed with autism, attention deficit disorder and anxiety issues, said when she walked out of the room and showed her injuries to educational administrator Linda Baade, she was ignored and left unsupervised. Emma, now 16, and her mother, Bernadette Kasacek, said Tuesday in Danielson Superior Court they plan to speak out in opposition to Baade’s request to receive accelerated rehabilitation on charges of risk of injury to a child and second-degree reckless endangerment she faces in connection with the 2017 incident. “If she receives this program, it all gets swept under the rug,” Emma Kasacek said. “Her record will be erased and she’ll be able to go and work at any school without parents knowing what she did.”… In March 2017, Bernadette Kasacek enrolled Emma at The Learning Center, one of the institutions recommended by her RHAM home school district. Kasacek said the institution -- on paper -- seemed to offer the combination of educational and clinical programming her daughter needed to thrive. “There are so few schools that can meet the needs of a kid like Emma, students with anxiety and autism but who are also bright,” Bernadette Kasacek said. But mother and daughter said issues cropped up soon after school began. Emma, used to being able to call or text her mother when feeling anxious, said she had her phone taken away and was put in a single-student class. She said restraints were used at times to pin her arms and legs. … Kasacek said a social worker assigned to handle her daughter’s clinical issues left the school in June and was never replaced. “So there were no weekly sessions, no one overseeing the mental health issues that we sent her to the school for in the first place,” Kasacek said…. During the course of the investigation, Kasacek said she was contacted by several former clinic students who said they were put into solitary-style rooms and illegally restrained. During an October court appearance by Baade, several protesters identifying themselves as former Learning Clinic students met outside the Danielson court to show support for Emma. Two of the former students, Brooklyn resident Gabrielle Curboy and AJ Acuna, of Salem, said they both witnessed students being mistreated by staff. No other charges have been filed against school staff. …


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