EXCLUSIVE: More details on student abuse allegations

EXCLUSIVE: More details on student abuse allegations

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A girl forced to balance herself on a board against her will and a boy shoved against a wall as disciplinary measure.

Those are just the latest allegations from two women who say they witnessed the mistreatment of special education students at Kipapa Elementary School.

The women said that between 2010 and 2011 at least six disabled children were subjected to physical or emotional abuse by a teacher and educational aide at the Mililani school.

One girl, who had trouble balancing herself, who was ordered to bounce on a balancing board.

"The little girl will literally say help please, help, help please. She literally ... She was crying," said the women, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

They say an autistic boy was disciplined with excessive force by a teacher.

"She pushed his head really hard against the wall like bang," one of the women said.

These new cases come after four others, including an incident caught on cell phone video showing an autistic child was held down by the neck for several minutes.

The state says its own investigation uncovered no abuse and that the women are lying.

But attorney Eric Seitz, who represents two families who are suing, says Kipapa Elementary wasn't prepared to handle problems with special needs students. He blames budget cuts.

"The DOE has cut back and cut back and cut back and made it very difficult for people to get the kind of services and quality of services," Seitz said.

Advocates for the disabled said they've seen an erosion of services for disabled students in recent years, with the end of the so-called Felix Consent Decree back in 2005.

That decree placed the state's public education services for students with mental and emotional disabilities under federal court supervision.

The DOE says it's increasing training and funding to deal with autistic children. But advocates said disabled students today are having a harder time getting the kinds of services they need.

"We've seen a lot of back sliding away from the requirements of the Felix Decree ... such that many Special Ed advocates believe its time for another Felix Lawsuit," said Louis Erteschik, executive director at the Hawaii Disability Rights Center.

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