Down Syndome Girl Bound With Duct Tape By School

When Shaylyn Searcy came home on Monday, she was unable to walk off her school bus on her own. The 8-year-old’s feet and ankles had been duct-taped, says the Indianapolis Star, and it took her family a good 30 minutes to remove what turned out to be industrial strength duct tape.

Shaylyn has Down syndrome and her ankles were bruised from the duct tape which, her mother says, was so strong that parts of the girl’s socks and vinyl from her shoes came off with the tape. Her family says that she will not be returning to Westlake Elementary School and have notified the State Department of Chlld Services.

Shaylyn had had a history of refusing to put on her shoes. But, says her mother, Elizabeth Searcy, teachers have contacted her before to address the situation.

It goes without saying that the use of the duct tape on Shaylyn was simply uncalled for and highlights why we need to push for national legislation regulating and limiting the use of restraints on kids with disabilities in public school settings. As Kim Dodson, associate executive director of The Arc of Indiana, tells the Indianapolis Star,†Indiana is one of twenty states that have no laws to prohibit the excessive use of seclusion and restraint in public schools.

The Indianapolis Star’s account of binding Shaylyn’s legs with duct tape also points to a failure on the school district’s part to follow basic provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. If Shaylyn is having difficulties keeping her shoes on, her teacher, therapists and parents should be meeting to discuss ways to teach her to keep them on and spell these out in her Individualized Education Plan (IEP), rather than calling her mother on a case-by-case basis and certainly rather than binding her legs with duct tape.

Restraining Shaylyn with the tape was not only inhumane, but also a violation of her rights under the IDEA. Perhaps teaching staff thought they had found a solution to keep her shoes on but they simply failed to to think of the overall implications of such cruelty and of its effect on a young girl (and on anybody). As Shaylyn herself said about the duct tape, “it hurts.”

Related Care2 Coverage

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Shock Therapy Doesnít Belong In the Classroom, Except In Massachusetts, Apparently

Photo from Thinkstock


K H.
K H2 years ago


Kumail Ibraheem
Kumail Ibraheem3 years ago

What on earth is wrong with some people?

Alice Almeida
Alice Almeida3 years ago

Some people dont think before they act.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

wow. Just wow

Diane L.
Diane L3 years ago

Of course those comments were not productive, Dolores, but I guess you think it's perfectly okay for a comment to be made which another person finds a problem with and if that person responds, then is attacked for what they say? At least Jen "got it" and apologized for jumping to conclusions.

These articles are called "discussions" for a reason. Members who read them have the opportunity to comment on the topic, to post personal opinions and experiences and share information, offer advice, etc. That often leads to being a bit off topic and digressing. It happens. Try commenting to a blog about a TV story and you can REALLY see the "fur fly", and sometimes some pretty harsh and cruel comments, not to mention foul language! At least we have the ability to "flag as inappropriate" here, and hopefully, Customer Support keeps everybody in line.

Dolores M Goytia
Dolores M Goytia3 years ago

Part 2 - Down Syndrome Girl Bound with Duct Tape by School: investigation of what the Associate Executive Director of The Arc of Indiana conveyed to the Indianapolis Star. Once all of the facts are gathered, a Petition and a Letter needs to be addressed to the Federal Government, State Senators, Congress and President Obama to enact a National Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which includes an Individualized Education Plan according to each child's need.

Dolores M Goytia
Dolores M Goytia3 years ago

I read the petition and comments on Down Syndrome Girl Bound With Duct Tape by School. I feel that this was an inhumane treatment of a Human Being. The last comments that were made between Tammy, Diane, and Jen were unnecessary and unproductive. Whether a child has Downs Syndrome, ADHD, or any other type of disability which they are unfortunately born with is in it's self a sad situation for the child. I know and have had contact with special needs children. One of the things that I have noticed is that for one thing, some parents are unaware of these diseases which makes it harder for the child to be diagnosed, and some parents refuse to admit that their child has a problem which delays the child getting the necessary treatment. In CA, the Federal Government has guidelines for the teachers, and special education counselors who interview the parents and children and provide a report to the parents detailing the type of tests they need to request from the teacher. Teachers are obligated by the Federal Government to request the tests recommended by the Special Education Counselors. These Counselors not only do the interviews in schools, but if the child is not able to attend the special school they go to the child's home. According to the Indianapolis Star, Indiana is one of twenty states that have no laws to prohibit the excessive use of seclusion and restraint in public schools and that there is a Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. I feel that there needs to be more

Karen F.
Karen F3 years ago

Maybe this child finds shoes restrictive and uncomfortable. I know I always have and went barefoot the minute I got home from school every day and all summer long. In this day and age, I only wear soft slip ons and only when I have to wear shoes when I go out to run errands... maybe this little girl would be more agreeable if she were allowed to pick out a soft, stretchy pair of shoes she would agree to wear? It would be worth a try. Duct taping shoes onto someone's feet... it's cruel and degrading and will make her more resistant to the idea of wearing shoes. Using force is going to be counterproductive.

Diane L.
Diane L3 years ago

No problem, Jen and thank you very much for making that apology. It's rare in Care2 to read such things these days. We all can misinterpret posts from others and the written words are easily misunderstood when there are no voice inflections such as in a face-to-face conversation.

All I'm suggesting is that it seemed a bit too P.C. to criticize somebody in this article for putting words in an order "other than" and then after reading the explanation of her personal circumstances, AS the Mother of a child who has dealt with ADHD his entire life, I am fairly familiar with how they are dealt with in schools. I'd never have allowed my own son to go on for SIX years without trying to put him in another situation better suited to his needs. He's now 43 and still has ADHD (one never outgrows it), but he was able to get an education. I wonder if he would have ever graduated if he'd spent 6 years in Kindergarten? As it was, he was 19 and the oldest in his class.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 3 years ago

Diane, I'm sorry for misinterpreting your comment. I didn't mean to insult you. Your wondering why Tammy didn't take her son out of that schol led to to think that you were critisizing her. I'm sorry gor jumping to that conclusion.