My story is about how my son’s school came into my life and changed it in a way that I don’t know if I can ever be who I was before.
It’s about how I got arrested. Lost my job. Have sleepless nights.
A part of me has been stolen.
If I had the power, I would let the system know that child protective services needs to do proper investigations. Don’t label me without knowing me.
I live in the South Bronx. In my neighborhood, there are a lot of investigations. If I lived elsewhere and my son went to a different school, I think this would have never, ever happened.
September 20th, 2018 was the worst day of my life. My kids were removed from my custody because on September 19, 2018, my boyfriend used corporal punishment on my younger son.
He did it because my son flooded our new apartment and the basement three days in a row by removing a piece from the toilet. After the third time, my boyfriend hit him with a belt, leaving red marks on his back and arm.
The next day, my son went to the school nurse. When they asked him what happened, he said he fell down the stairs, he went into a wall, he got beat up. He came up with like six different stories. Because he had so many stories, the school called me and then they called child protective services.
I felt terrified. I also felt betrayed. For a year I was asking for help for my son’s behavior and nobody was willing to help.
Schools play an outsized role in putting families in the child welfare pipeline. Nationwide, schools are the number one driver of reports of suspected child abuse and neglect to the State Central Registry, accounting for almost 20 percent of calls.
In the coming weeks, Rise will provide immediate information to support parents facing a school challenge—legal information about mandated reporting, educational neglect and “excessive corporal punishment,” as well as guidance on requesting an IEP and negotiating to meet your child’s needs.
We also challenge systems nationwide and New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services and Department of Education to better inform school personnel about mandated reporting and referrals to community-based services so that they don’t make unnecessary reports.