By Robert Buan
OAHU, Hawaii (KITV) — A student with special needs was cyberbullied at Campbell High School last spring.
Students took mobile phone camera pictures of her son using the urinal and blasted them out on social media. While no one disputes what happened that day, there still isn’t much agreement on how to go forward. That was the takeaway from a meeting Friday morning with school officials and the student’s mom.
“It was very emotional meeting,” said Melissa Harper-Osai, mother of the autistic child who was a freshman at Campbell High School last Spring. “It was a big trigger because they didn’t even remember the date that this happened, which is ingrained in my brain forever. My top priority is my son’s safety and they cannot assure me that he will be safe in this environment at James Campbell High School. The fact that they keep telling me that this teacher is familiar with him and that they will follow the IEP and that they will do all these things, but they weren’t doing those things in the first place, which could have prevented all of this from happening. There’s no way I will be sending my son back to that school.”
Harper-Osai can’t understand why the school doesn’t seem like her son’s best interests are their priority. And it wasn’t for a lack of people involved in today’s meeting.
“What really infuriates me is that it’s supposed to be a team decision. It wasn’t a team decision,” added Harper-Osai. “There were 15 people on this meeting this morning and two people spoke up the principal and the vice principal. No one else had any input or any suggestions or any options.”
The school gave no reasons not to facilitate a transfer, so we reached out to an expert in the field of school psychology with focuses on special education. She thinks there may be a benefit to reconsidering that strategy.
“In order for a student to feel successful, to be successful – especially those with disabilities – the most important aspect to what school provides should be safety and security for each individual student,” said Lindy Laursen, who has spent over 25 years in different levels of school psychology. “When that has been taken away, the ability for that student to learn and grow as deeply depleted. By providing a different location for a student to learn that is safe, they will be able to expand their learning and capabilities much greater.”
Efforts were made to reach officials with Campbell High School, but they have yet to respond to either the original story or this latest update.
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