An Ohio special education teacher’s alleged techniques of binding a student and gagging him with a bandana to stop him from spitting, strapping another student to a toilet to keep her from falling off, and forcing a third student to sit with her pants down on a training toilet in full view of her classmates were “inappropriate and abusive,” but they did not violate the students’ constitutional rights, a federal appeals court has ruled.
All three students had autism, and they ranged in age from 6 to 11 during the 2003-04 school year when the alleged behavior took place.
After the allegations were reported against Marsha Kowalski, a teacher at the North Point Educational Service Center in Sandusky, Ohio, she was suspended with pay for a year while state authorities investigated. The investigation concluded with a consent agreement in which Kowalski denied any wrongdoing, but she agreed to complete 20 to 30 hours of college-level special-education coursework.
A version of this article appeared in the January 20, 2016 edition of Education Week as Appeals Court Rejects Suit Over Special Ed. Restraints