EXCLUSIVE: Mililani school faces new abuse allegation - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Mililani school faces new abuse allegation

Corrina Duvauchelle-Puu Corrina Duvauchelle-Puu
Anela Anela
Eric Seitz Eric Seitz
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

An Ewa Beach mother alleges that her autistic daughter was physically abused for more than a year by staffers at Kipapa Elementary School in Mililani.

It's not the first time the school is facing this type of accusation.

Earlier this week, Corrina Duvauchelle-Puu sued officials at Kipapa Elementary School on behalf of her nine-year-old daughter Anela, alleging that school employees strapped down the girl to a chair -- sometimes for hours.

"Evidently, they would tie Anela up with a pareo or like a scarf. And make her watch TV periodically throughout the day," Duvauchelle-Puu said.

The lawsuit comes about a month after the parents of another former Kipapa Elementary student sued school officials, alleging that staffers physically abused their autistic daughter and tried to cover it up.

Parents of 10-year-old Jaydalyn Navarro said staffers grabbed their daughter by the neck and held her down for several minutes.

In both cases, parents said school officials never told her about the alleged abuse and that they only found out about the incidents from whistle blowers.

Eric Seitz, who filed both lawsuits, says Hawaii's Attorney General's office has investigated the matter but he doesn't have much faith in the probe.

"As far as I know the only thing the state has done is try to cover it up. And all the state has done is resist efforts by parents to move their kids to private placements," said Seitz.

"I don't think there much doubt on our part that it all occurred and that it occurred on multiple occasions and it was part of attitude at the school that if kids were disruptive despite the fact that they had disabilities, that it was okay to restrain them in some manner."

In addition to his two lawsuits, Seitz said he's aware of three other families who have alleged their children were mistreated by Kipapa Elementary staffers.

The lawsuit names school principal Corrine Yogi, who declined comment. Department of Education officials did not return calls.

Duvauchelle-Puu said she is pursuing her daughter's case because Anela, who suffers from a rare form of autism, is unable to speak for herself.

"They can't speak for themselves. You have to realize that ...this can happen to your child and not to look the other way," she said.

"You have to be the voice for them."

 

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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