School district policy leads to arrests for emotionally disturbed fifth-grader

2013-06-09T06:30:00Z School district policy leads to arrests for emotionally disturbed fifth-graderJennifer Naylor Gesick Journal staff Rapid City Journal

When a sobbing 11-year-old Odette Baumeister was handcuffed and removed from Rapid Valley Elementary in March, it was the 10th time the fifth-grader had been arrested, taken to a juvenile detention center or suspended this year.

According to her thick folder of disciplinary records, the arrests were usually the result of acting out by crying, throwing things, hitting herself or teachers attempting to restrain her. She once was arrested for running out of a building and splashing a teacher with water from a fountain.

At least one of those arrests resulted in the girl — who in many ways resembles a typical 11-year-old — having to spend a night in a locked cell in juvenile hall.

Her grandmother, who says she has met with school officials several times to discuss the arrests, is astounded that a child who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder has been treated like a chronic juvenile offender.

"She should never be arrested for that. Why was she taken to jail if she was hurting herself? They should have called an ambulance," said Susanne Baumeister, who added the school district does not always contact her immediately when Odette becomes a discipline problem.

Odette, however, is far from the only child in the Rapid City Area Schools system to have an encounter with law enforcement while in school.

School policy, which provides for a full-time police presence in schools and a threat assessment protocol implemented after the Columbine High School mass shooting, has led to an environment where an emotionally disturbed girl can be arrested repeatedly for actions that would not always constitute a crime outside of school.

The policies also have prompted a study by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of Rapid City schools and their safety program.

Odette was one of 68 student arrests during the 2012-13 school year in the Rapid City School District. Of that group, 35 were middle school students, 25 high school students and eight were elementary students.

Overall, police responded to a total of 756 school calls from May 2012 to May 2013. Police said that not all of the calls were necessarily for students. Of those calls, 67 were for assaults, 34 for emergencies, 74 for disturbances, 68 for drugs, 27 for runaways, 59 for theft and 99 were for what are termed juvenile problems, according to department records.

Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender said that complaints of a juvenile problem at schools are often unclear initially.

"A juvenile problem is a generic classification used when no specific crime has been reported,” Allender wrote in an email to the Journal. "For example, it could be 'there are kids who look like they're up to something' or it could be a general behavior issue with the child not following instructions or not following the rules. The bottom line: it's generic."

Rapid City police officers and Pennington County sheriff’s deputies — now known as liaison officers — have been patrolling school hallways since at least 1978. The school policy states the officers are there to "prevent juvenile delinquency."

And after the Columbine High School mass shooting in 1999, the district implemented a new School Threat Assessment Response, or STAR, protocol. In student handbooks, the program is defined as an attempt to "assure that threats of violence in a school environment are addressed whenever possible, before they occur."

Troy Volesky, director of special education at Rapid City schools, said in an Individualized Education Program meeting with Baumeister in April that the school sometimes initiates threat protocol to refer Odette to law enforcement when she begins to hurt herself or throw a tantrum. The meeting was held as part of a program that is mandated by federal law for special-needs students like Odette.

Baumeister said she does not believe the policy is applied fairly to her daughter.

"They can't just manipulate the laws to do whatever they want," Baumeister said. "It's just not right."

Odette was cited for disruption of school at least five times and one of those came for crying in the hallway when she was sent out of class. Her grandmother said that every time the liaison officer was involved, it resulted in an arrest, making at least 10 this year. The school, however, only reported two arrests, one trip to the Juvenile Services Center and 10 school suspensions.

School officials defend their policy as necessary to keep schools safe and insist that police only make arrests when warranted.

"The district's position is we don’t ever arrest a student," Superintendent Tim Mitchell said when asked about the policy. "We have a liaison officer and the only time an arrest is made in school is when an offense if it happened outside of school would warrant an arrest. It's no different than in the community. We have no control over that. It’s the officer’s training and it's in their interaction where they determine whether or not to arrest."

Katie Bray is the assistant superintendent who oversees student achievement, curriculum and instruction under which disciplinary policies fall. She insists schools do not indiscriminately initiate the protocol that can lead to student arrests.

"Principals are not in the business of calling cops or a sheriff’s deputies and saying please come and arrest this kid," she said. "When an arrest is made the welfare of the child or other children has been threatened or there’s been a substantial disruption of school. Kids don’t get to just disrupt school."

Bray also said not every call leads to an arrest.

"I can tell you circumstance after circumstance where they decided not to arrest because they wanted to work with the children and the parents," she said.

She said the Department of Homeland Security's interest in studying Rapid City Area Schools is because they are one of the safest in the country and they use law enforcement extensively.

"Our liaison officers act more like counselors," Bray said. "They become like trusted adults, kids report to them. They represent safety."

Brian Blenner, who is a board member, former liaison officer and a police sergeant, said police are in schools to protect the students and sometimes that means arresting them.

"It depends on the kid," he said. "The way you figure it ... say you take 1,500 kids and out of those kids there is a small percentage of those kids that are going to cause most of your problems."

He added that STAR protocol would not be appropriate for a kid with emotional disabilities, "going off."

"That's not a kid going off," Blenner said. "That's a kid that made a direct threat, 'I'm going to kill you,' or 'I'm going to blow up the school.'"

But the constant presence of law enforcement in schools, relative ease in which discipline problems are referred to police, and an increase in student arrests nationwide has civil libertarians and parents like Baumeister concerned.

"Schools are increasingly relying on law enforcement to handle minor school misconduct instead of teachers and administrators," said Robert Doody, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota.

Doody pointed out that minority students and those with disabilities are more likely to be arrested. This phenomenon was recently cited in a January joint report from several civil rights organizations, including the Advancement Project, Alliance for Educational Justice and Dignity in Schools Campaign.

"Children who have unmet special learning or emotional needs are particularly likely to be pushed out of mainstream schools and into the juvenile justice system," Doody said.

Dana Hanna, a local attorney who has worked with the Baumeisters, said he doesn't see any need for a police officer to intervene at an elementary school and that arrests at such an impressionable young age can actually plant the seeds for future criminality.

"It’s called the school-to-prison pipeline and what they're doing is educating these kids to become defendants in criminal cases," Hanna said. "When children as young as 11 years old are arrested, handcuffed and put in jail for acting up, it’s just wrong."

Hanna said a decision by the Supreme Court put the responsibility for discipline on the schools rather than law enforcement.

"In Goss v. Lopez, the Supreme Court recognized and stated that discipline of students is part of education," he said. "Throughout the country, many school administrators in many schools have abdicated their responsibility as educators by putting the burden on police and the court system. It’s repressive and it’s wrong."

Odette suffers from a variety of disorders that cause her to behave much like a toddler in certain situations, according to Baumeister, who is Odette's biological grandmother but adopted her from a bad situation during childhood.

One of her more serious conditions is known as pervasive development disorder or PDD, which affects her ability to socialize and communicate. A doctor described the conditions Odette suffers from as atypical autism. Other conditions she has include opposition defiance disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and reactive attachment disorder.

As a result, she can only handle a single task at a time and is easily distracted, which was a problem when she was in a classroom with 60 other students at Rapid Valley Elementary, even though there were two teachers. She also becomes frustrated when she is unable to get help or attention from a teacher, according to Baumeister.

Baumeister said the repeated arrests and time in jail have scarred Odette who would dread going to school in the mornings.

"She trusted these teachers, and now she and her sister have learned not to trust adults," she said.

After a meeting in April, school officials decided to transfer Odette to East Middle School, a new school with classrooms dedicated to special education students. It is also a school where officials are less likely to call the police when there is a problem, according to the district.

The results are promising so far, Baumeister said.

"Oh, she is flourishing."

Contact Jennifer Naylor Gesick at 394-8415 or

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(33) Comments

    Report Abuse
    ASDMOM - January 07, 2014 10:18 pm
    As a mother of a child with Autism, I'm completely appalled by your ignorance. Apparently you need to education yourself because its quite obvious that you are emotionally disturbed to think that children on the autism spectrum are emotionally disturb. I can tell you one thing is that I have the most honest, kind, loving and well behaved AUTISTIC son. Who would make your little lying, cheating, bullying and otherwise normal development children look like the devil. Typical developing children are just as disruptive if not more so then those with special needs. So next time one of your kids acts up at school maybe you should keep them home because clearly they are just as emotionally disturbed as you.
  2. leahrath
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    leahrath - June 15, 2013 2:00 pm
    I am just disgusted by RC School system! No child should be arrested, period! Children do not comprehend the difference between right and wrong and until they are old enough to understand that they are not old enough to be arrested! Call the parents/guardians and get them involved! Teachers went into their profession knowing it would be poor pay and some bad parents. Put the responsibility back on the parents and take the acting out continuously as signs of learning disabilities and possible abuse. Then use the SPECIAL EDUCATION $$$$ FOR THE KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS and address their issues the way they are meant to so the kids can be successful in school! Not to fund pay increases for superintendents who are already over-paid baboons!
  3. snowflake
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    snowflake - June 11, 2013 9:14 pm
    This is the saddest story I've ever read. Can you imagine her terror? I am ashamed that this would happen anywhere in the US.

    It does sound like things may be better for her now, "After a meeting in April, school officials decided to transfer Odette to East Middle School, a new school with classrooms dedicated to special education students. It is also a school where officials are less likely to call the police when there is a problem, according to the district."

    But so much damage has been done. Please get her help and the support she needs.

  4. purpletier53774
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    purpletier53774 - June 11, 2013 7:39 pm
    keep fighting for her she is so worth it! I have a son who has asbergers , tourrettes, ADHD, and depression. We have always had a very good team in every school that he was been in since kindergarten (thank god). Now going into highschool they have tried to label him so they could put him in a self contained classroom (like I said tried his IEP case manager wasn't even informed). My son has been on the honor roll since 6th grade and yes has had a few stressed out moments (crying etc...) he has always been able to be among his peers along with some special classes and some learning modifications (that's what IEP is for ie....individualized education plan). He has never been arrested. We (the teams at either his elementary school or his middle school) have always dealt with him and his quirks cuz that is who he is. Back to my point, now he is entering highschool and I thought that since we have always had a super team throughout I was shocked when I found out about the self containment. After a call to (I believe his name is Troy at the school board in charge of special education * if I got ur name wrong I'm so so sorry) Niki Curry (ty u again) and I were able to work with the highschool to get my son into the freshman wing with modifications. So keep fighting for Odette because she needs u to in RCAS because its not always smooth sailing. She so lucky to have u!
  5. Deklan
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    Deklan - June 10, 2013 12:46 pm

    The article noted: As a result, she (Odette) can only handle a single task at a time and is easily distracted, which was a problem when she was in a classroom with 60 other students at Rapid Valley Elementary, even though there were two teachers.

    The school district is aware that children who fall under the autism spectrum have sensory issues. Sometimes one or more senses are either over- or under-reactive to stimulation.

    It is mandated that the state provide all eligible children with a free and appropriate public education that meets their unique individual needs, and in this case, the district failed, as it appears, the district placed Odette in a classroom with 60 students knowing her sensory system would be overloaded.
  6. Deklan
    Report Abuse
    Deklan - June 10, 2013 12:07 pm
    It appears my first comment wasn't allowed…I’ll try again.

    Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) all qualified persons with disabilities within the jurisdiction of a school district are entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

    You wrote, “but you would be singing a different tune if it were your child she kept from getting an education, or worse.”

    You would probably be singing a different tune if your child fell under the autism spectrum or was as you wrote, “emotionally disturbed.”
  7. Deklan
    Report Abuse
    Deklan - June 10, 2013 11:32 am
    From the article: Police Chief Steve Allender said that complaints of a juvenile problem at schools are often unclear initially.

    "A juvenile problem is a generic classification used when no specific crime has been reported,” Allender wrote in an email to the Journal. "For example, it could be 'there are kids who look like they're up to something' or it could be a general behavior issue with the child not following instructions or not following the rules. The bottom line: it's generic.

    I'm sure you're aware of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law ensures services to children with disabilities throughout the nation, and it governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services.

    Under 504, a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is defined as an educational program that is individualized to a specific child, designed to meet that child's unique needs, provides access to the general curriculum, meets the grade-level standards established by the state, and from which the child receives educational benefits.

    Last March, the CDC announced a 72% increase in the diagnosis of autism over the past four years. One of every 50 children aged 6-years to 17-years has an autism spectrum diagnosis.

    Ten years ago, the number was 1 in 150.

    Since you've thanked God, you should also thank him that you don't have a child classified on the autistic spectrum, or in part, to use your words, an "emotionally disturbed child." You would be singing a different tune...
  8. Deklan
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    Deklan - June 10, 2013 11:09 am
    The school district desires the extra special education funding, but it isn't always used for special education.

    SDCL allows school districts to transfer 50% of local funding out of the special education fund to fund the general fund, which is used to pay salaries.

    The Journal reported on 06/08/11 that the then Rapid City School District board members approved 2% raises using $1.8 million in funds earmarked for special education
  9. Temperant
    Report Abuse
    Temperant - June 10, 2013 9:02 am
    I'm appalled and surprised that the Rapid City Journal actually publishes this garbage, making it out to light upon the 'woe is me' school and that this is actually a good thing. All they're doing is making a future angry and disturbed little girl into a criminal.

    Unfortunately for many cases, the No Child Left Behind act causes schools to 'push out' the students that they feel do't reflect on their standardized testing scores well, or 'make them look bad' as educators. It's all about the funding after all.

    Spectrum disorders are recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It should be in this young girl's Individualized Education Plan that these concerns can and should be taken care of. Why is she in a classroom with 60 students when it's an issue? Where is the resource room, the occupational therapy room, all of this? I know Rapid City Schools can afford these things in budget if a small school in Wyoming can.

    I feel embarrassment for the school liaison officer and the school representatives to have their lack of professionalism in handling a student with disabilities and to have their dirty laundry aired over the newspaper. I also feel embarrassed for the RCJ that they actually posted this article.

    It sounds like the grandmother is helping, is involved and is concerned.. But really, to arrest a student because the school is failing to address her needs? And yes, it is the schools issue to deal with while she's at school. Instead of arresting her, get her the help she needs! There is a wonderful center in Sturgis that conducts testing and diagnosis for children with disorders and can assist in developing an IEP, not to mention different Parent Information Center liaisons in the area as well.
  10. redbird825
    Report Abuse
    redbird825 - June 10, 2013 8:54 am
    This child has a right to privacy under special education laws and juvenile justice laws. The grandparents and the Rapid City Journal completely violated those rights . I expected way better from the Rapid City Journal. The end result of the article is further hurting an 11-year-old child.
  11. Obtuseangler
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    Obtuseangler - June 10, 2013 7:30 am
    Incredible, and sad, story. The school has a legal obligation to accommodate special needs students. It appears that the grandmother had to involve an attorney in order to compel the district to meet its legal obligations. Treating mental health issues as criminal issues in the school setting is beyond inappropriate, unless the student's behavior constitutes an imminent threat to self or others. Classroom disruption does not meet that criteria. If the student was inappropriately placed, shouldn't problems be expected? With regards to the administrators' remarks, they sound like attempts at abdication of responsibility. If the appropriate interventions had been made early on it is unlikely law enforcement would have become involved at all. All the players involved, with their Masters and PhD's, have to know this. With regards to the Journal publishing the child's picture and name, don't you think the grandmother agreed with this happening? It was her call. Respect it. My guess is she wanted to call attention to the plight of special needs students so some changes would come about. She didn't want this fight. She was forced into it. She deserves a medal.
  12. hazmat
    Report Abuse
    hazmat - June 10, 2013 7:16 am
    Yes, by all means, let's just cast aside these special needs children! We can't have them mucking up the works for the rest of society, now can we?
  13. evanescent7077
    Report Abuse
    evanescent7077 - June 10, 2013 7:16 am
    Such a beautiful girl. I'm very disappointed with the actions taken by the Rapid City School District. The Office of Civil Rights will be notified to ensure the school district is following the law. A review of policies regarding Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - Free Appropriate Public Education should be updated and implemented.

    The school should have recommended special education in the home, instead of terrifying this young child. Involving law enforcement was completely inappropriate. Shame on you!
  14. Freedome
    Report Abuse
    Freedome - June 10, 2013 7:02 am
    Mainstreaming is a joke for many as our son was mainstreamed to cover up a crime at another school. That when back in the RC school system all we were told were lies & dumped on by the school system. The system had other kids do his schoolwork & put him in the Dare program 2 times than fought with us over the 3 rd time. They treated us like we were criminals just because we had a handicapped child. We disagreed with almost everything they did with him, he never learned a thing. They made him take gym class he said all he did was sit on the bench & watched the school kids. The school told us he was telling us lies so we walked into the school one day went straight to the gym while walking to the gym a teacher & an office person ran down the hallway by us to the gym I ran behind them. When we reached the gym he was sitting on the bench the teacher ran up to him & had him get off the bench from watching the other kids playing & found a ball for the three of them to play with. We just watched than walked out. Mainstream was a big joke & takes away from everyone learning at the school we had a couple close friends that were teachers at other RC schools saying they hate it it takes away form the time they have to teach the regular school kids & they don't have time to teach the mainstreamed kids. It all has to do with money that our school system does want to pay out for the special schools that many of these kids need to be at. It is always about money & lie after lie than when you disagree with them they act like they are out to get you using the police to scare the child & the family. It just boils down to money.
  15. Cook
    Report Abuse
    Cook - June 10, 2013 5:29 am
    I appears to me that this article has brought recognition of a situation that need to be addressed and corrected. I have never seen that projecting blame produces a answer. This is the exact problem that has been brought up with and not exclusive to the school and theater shootings. This people need help not controlled. We have recognized this young girl has obvious issues that require metal health professionals so let have our system make this happen. Don't wait, don't procrastinate and don't project blame. Help Her. and then make the program adjust to help the others. If the budget is the problem then change the budget. It is doable and just need to be fixed.
  16. Diogenes
    Report Abuse
    Diogenes - June 09, 2013 10:49 pm
    The photo is what really interests me. Why was this allowed? Did the administrator at the school allow this? There are privacy laws in place to protect children. Is that really a teacher or is that grandma? Was this taken recently, after school was dismissed for the summer? I am flabbergasted an administrator would allow the media to take a photo of a disciplined child during the school day. If it's a concocted re-creation then shame on the grandma for sensationalizing it. Notice the poor child clutching her book, she just wants to learn. Never mind the other students at the school whose learning is negatively impacted by her behavior.. Did grandma's repeated calls to the Journal provoke the RCJ to do a story? And if grandma is happy with the outcome why all the fuss? Sounds like administrators moved too slow to find the proper placement (which isn't a shock in RC)
  17. rcgirl29
    Report Abuse
    rcgirl29 - June 09, 2013 9:34 pm
    That's exactly why mainstreaming these children is ineffective...they can't get the help they need and there aren't enough qualified SPED teachers to go around. I can tell you right now that this child did something more than simply cry for hours to get arrested by the police...that is not enough of a reason and I feel as though this article is not giving all of the facts. And yes, I feel badly that a child on the autistism spectrum has so many other problems in addition to that, but you would be singing a different tune if it were your child she kept from getting an education, or worse. Then you'd have no problem calling the school and teacher, demanding to know why something's wasn't done about it, I'm sure. And thank God the legal system isn't made up of people like you, who want to give people special passes to interfere with the livelihood and well-being of others. Emotionally disturbed children have no business being in a public school system unless they are able to conform to the same rules, procedures, and safety precautions followed by everyone else. .
  18. AEBlackHawk
    Report Abuse
    AEBlackHawk - June 09, 2013 8:20 pm
    Agreed RCGIRL29!! Teachers are there to help the kids learn...not perform miracles while the children are at school. Obviously the big issue is what is going on at home, or NOT going on at home. Where are the parents/guardians with this? Why is it never the parents/guardians fault but everyone else's? Kids shouldn't get away with bad choices just because of a disability. Hurting another child should never be acceptable.
  19. Roger Cornelius
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    Roger Cornelius - June 09, 2013 6:18 pm
    Add tragedy to tragedy by including the name and photograph of the child. Really poor judgement.
  20. fuelish42
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    fuelish42 - June 09, 2013 5:44 pm
    Yes, amen, to rcgirl29. Everybody whose sympathy is toward the disruptive children in classrooms should volunteer in Rapid City Schools. Bad behavior, not matter what the cause, interferes with education of all the other students in the class at a time of very high academic accountability in schools.
  21. Toad
    Report Abuse
    Toad - June 09, 2013 5:35 pm
    My heart breaks for an 11 year who is in need of special services. Unfortunately, the states school districts are nt equipped to deal with these sorts of issues. This is a different time..with different laws that schools are forced to deal with. I guarantee if this girl pulled a gun or a knife at school and hurt someone..the bleeding hearts cries would be "why didn't the school do something?" Her supposed caring grandparents need to have pulled her out and put her in a special school...uhhhha about 5 incidents ago? And I know this is a small issue...but why is the Journal splashing photos of an 11 year in this situation all over the paper...and shame on the grandparents for allowing it. And one last small thing...this is very telling...grandma can't even put out her darn cigarette for the pics? That is a sure sign of someone who has no real concern for child welfare..for petes sake..shes not even concerned with giving her grandchild cancer from second hand smoke.
  22. Blackhillsmommy
    Report Abuse
    Blackhillsmommy - June 09, 2013 5:31 pm
    You're talking as if she is a completely average child, she is far from it! Yes, there is a lot to be desired with most parenting these days, but this is a child who functions on a completely different level mentally and doesn't have the same reasoning abilities that most of her classmates do. So, because there are so many disrespectful little brats in the world that teachers have to deal with, the children with true issues who need more help and guidance are just locked up instead. I will pray you never have a child who needs some extra attention and doesn't get it.
  23. Ironshield34
    Report Abuse
    Ironshield34 - June 09, 2013 5:29 pm
    Yeah and fifty years ago was also civil rights era so what we should just drop all that progress is moving forward not back we don't need to do what they did in the 60's!! We need to find a solution to this problem and everyone should get a fair education with no but these ones don't everyone should be treated fairly no matter what!! Is that not what this country is based on!! Everyone should get an education except these ones that doesn't sound right!!
  24. survive05
    Report Abuse
    survive05 - June 09, 2013 3:24 pm
    I am appalled, by the photo posted on the front page, of this child...however, if it brings attention to the need that things have to change for our students who are in emotional distress. ...and to be handcuffed and arrested, and taken to JDC for crying,.... that is just WRONG!! Where are our mental health professionals for students like this, these are crucial years that set the stage growing up. I would love to help, because these children need advocated since everyone is dropping the ball, wish I knew how.
  25. DisheartenedGBM
    Report Abuse
    DisheartenedGBM - June 09, 2013 3:23 pm
  26. Pookdad
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    Pookdad - June 09, 2013 2:59 pm
    This is only get worse as we continue to shave school budgets putting 30 students in a classroom, one student can not be allowed to disrupt the learning of the other twenty nine. Where do we draw the line protecting the rights of the twenty nine versus hers, Special Education eats up a great deal of school funding because of mandates, many kids who would have been kept at home fifty years ago are now in school. Things that were not tolerated thirty years ago are okay now because of the autism spectrum. I realize that every child deserves an education, but why should a severely handicapped child get an aide for themselves and a teacher for maybe 8-10 other students while the normal students are crammed into a classroom with more cuts, and gifted students are left with a totally gutted program.
  27. rnkreber
    Report Abuse
    rnkreber - June 09, 2013 2:11 pm
    Disappointed that a picture of this girl is on front page of RC Journal>I would encourage the grandmother to not give up and get her the help she needs to become a super happy adult. As a grandmother of a highly functioning autistic grandson who had been in speech and occupational therapy since 3 and missdiagnosed even though his parents felt he had autistic issues, he was in his first year of middle school before they finally agreed. Thankfully they don't live in South Dakota and were able to get him in a private autistic school and he has greatly improved. He is a joy to visit with now, still doesn't socialize alot but way better and does not act out anymore. Awesome to see such an improvement in a child.
    I anticipate this girl has a lot of emotional issues that are not being addressed correctly. I hope her grandmother gets her the help she needs.
  28. jjneff
    Report Abuse
    jjneff - June 09, 2013 10:56 am
    Maybe you should change the name of this story to:
    "School district policy leads to arrests for DISABLED fifth-grader"......

    Your story does much to justify the reasons this child has been repeatedly disciplined, but doesn't touch on the lack of services to deal with a disabled child at this school.
    How sad for this child that she is treated like a common criminal instead of receiving the services she deserves, when she has diagnosed disabilities and mental health challenges.
    So sad.
  29. Nighthawk21
    Report Abuse
    Nighthawk21 - June 09, 2013 10:55 am
    Another shining example of our law enforcement and school districts using the "safety of the majority" mentality. I support that, but labeling this kid as "troubled" or "criminal" is not right. This child needs more help, not to be treated like an offender. This poor child could grow up thinking there is something wrong with them and that they have to live up to their "bad" reputation. Disgusting display of lack of compassion in our school system. It is no wonder that teen suicide and bullying are so prevalent in schools; because our school districts don't offer help. They use the "nobody likes a tattle tale" excuse to reprimand children who are trying to seek help for bullying. In my opinion, schools are bullies themselves.
  30. Ruffed Grouse
    Report Abuse
    Ruffed Grouse - June 09, 2013 8:34 am
    So basically the cops have to be called in because the teachers have no power????
  31. quest4serenity
    Report Abuse
    quest4serenity - June 09, 2013 8:12 am
    This article is so disturbing on so many levels I am almost rendered speechless. I don't even know where to begin. I can say sending her to the *East Middle School* is not even something you would call an answer to the situation.

    I never would have expected this from Rapid City... I am truly saddened by how this child was handled.
  32. GL
    Report Abuse
    GL - June 09, 2013 8:05 am
    My best to Odette and her family...
  33. rcgirl29
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    rcgirl29 - June 09, 2013 7:24 am
    I've seen elementary age school children bite, kick, punch, throw chairs, and generally threaten the safety of both teachers and students. It is NOT a teacher's job to discipline that student. People have no idea what goes on in schools today. There is a total breakdown of respect and discipline at home, which transfers to the schools. It's not the teachers' or administrators' jobs to deal with that once it's escalated to a certain level. If that behavior warrants an arrest, it's not the arrest that is going to land children in jail as's the behavior that caused the arrest to begin with, which will likely escalate to more serious crimes later in life. I am so sick of teachers and schools being blamed for everything these days. Parents: take responsibility for your children!
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