EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Tri-County Schools in Easthampton has temporarily closed, as staff members are facing allegations of abuse and neglect.
Neighbors are disturbed by a scathing report released by the Disability Law Center, that details allegations of abuse and neglect at the Tri-County Schools in Easthampton.
The school is for students with behavioral and emotional disabilities.
According to the report, one student came home with cuts and abrasions after being restrained seven times in a seven-week period, a staff member was reportedly fired, after putting a student in a headlock, and, in another case, an 8-year-old student’s finger was reportedly broken while being disciplined.
The Tri-County Schools are closed, but the administrative offices are still open. The I-Team went inside to try and talk to somebody. They told us they’re aware of the abuse allegations, but the only one who can comment is the executive director, who wasn’t available.
Later Thursday afternoon, 22News received the following statement from Northeast Center for Youth and Families Inc. Executive Director Paul Rilla:
“Tri-County Schools made the decision in May 2018 that it would close its K through 12 educational programs, for the purpose of restructuring. Subsequently the Disability Law Center conducted an investigation based on complaints which they received. Tri-County cooperated fully with the investigation.”
The I-Team spoke to a woman who lives near the school.
“My cousin was an aide there, I think they can be some of the most challenging kids to work with, so in that sense I can understand why they would be restraining kids”
Under state regulations, restraints can only be used if a student is an imminent threat to themselves or others. According to a report, staff members used excessive restraints, violating those guidelines.
“If I was hearing that my kids classmates were getting injured through regular restraints, I’d have a hard time sending my kids to school every day.”
Full investigation report below: