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School District Opposes Use of Listening Device for Autistic Student

The Clark County School District in Nevada is investigating whether or not an autistic student should be allowed to wear the AngelSense device in the classroom. A Las Vegas parent made the request on behalf of his son, a six-year-old student who suffered physical abuse in the classroom in 2018.

autism-ribbon2J.J. Wahrer was attending Harmon Elementary at the time. His teacher was Melody Carter, and she was fired from the school district and prosecuted in the courts in connection with using a wooden pointer to beat J.J.

Like others with his condition, J.J. is non-verbal. This means that he was unable to communicate the abuse to his parents when it occurred. It was only when an investigation was launched that J.J.’s parents learned of the beating.

J.J. now attends classes at Ferron Elementary School, but the effects of the abuse are reverberating. His parents say that J.J. is prone to running away from school because he’s afraid to be there. The Wahrers say that they are worried that J.J. could be hit by a car or kidnapped if he is able to escape from the school grounds.

The Wahrers and their attorneys argue that the AngelSense device would help to protect J.J. with its GPS capabilities. A warning system would alert the parents when J.J. wanders away from school. Moreover, a microphone would let them listen in on what’s happening in the classroom, something that the Warhrers say is necessary because the school district is not reporting incidents to them.

The Clark County School District is balking at the listening device, which they say raises privacy concerns. Officials are open to a GPS tracker that would help everyone to keep tabs on J.J. to ensure his safety.

However, the Wahrer’s attorneys are worried that teachers and other school officials won’t be truthful and forthcoming with regard to treatment of J.J. at school. The student’s inability to communicate any issues would appear to put him at a significant disadvantage.

An Impartial Due Process Hearing is being conducted to decide the issue, and the school district has declined to make any statements.