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Read what Michigan residents have to say about their experiences with seclusion and restraint in schools.

The first seclusion and restraint was done to punish him for lying on the floor.

Marcus was trying to find a safe space to calm himself

...She and his para yanked him off the floor, cut his forehead with her ring, and dragged him down two hallways and locked him in the seclusion room for 20 minutes.

Marcus Morrison Cut Forehead_edited.jpg

This restraint and seclusion was not warranted, nor done according to law.  This was not an emergency and my son was not an imminant danger to himself or others.

This restraint and seclusion caused him a lot of emotional distress and trauma and his behaviors began to escalate from there, including attempts to elope from school due to fear of the school environment.

With all the seclusions, restraints and abuse Marcus received it caused trauma, anxiety, paranoia, flight and fight, elopements, school avoidance, insomnia, increased aggression and academic regression.

"We know Marcus chooses to have poor behavior."

"We know when his behaviors are from his disability and when he wants to do the on purpose."

Letter to Michigan Department of Education
Fenton Area Public Schools - Fenton, MI
by Elizabeth Morrison*

Misuse of Seclusion & Restraint by Megan Yelle at Fenton Area Public Schools

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the victim & his family

April 26, 2024

Hello,

Thank you for your email. I want to relay that I have filed an OCR complaint and I have a pending mediation scheduled in June with Fenton Area Public Schools for all the civil rights violations Marcus received at school. The OCR complaints are not specific to any one staff member's professional practice certification. Therefore, I think it’s important to report the abuse and unprofessional practices my son, Marcus Morrison, 9 year old, third grade student experienced at the hands of Megan Yelle. 

 

Megan Yelle became principal at Fenton State Road Elementary beginning in the school year 2022-23 when my son was in second grade. Marcus had been a student at State Rd. since Kindergarten and had never been secluded or restrained until he met Yelle. Marcus has an IEP for OHI. He has Tourette's Syndrome and ADHD, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, dyslexia, fine motor impairment, severe articulation disorder and expressive speech disorder.  He was also recently diagnosed with a mood disorder. Despite this, before Yelle started at the school, the school team and I were able to work through any issues that occurred. 

 

The first seclusion and restraint Yelle did to Marcus was done to punish him for lying by a bookshelf on the library floor while no other students were in the library.  Marcus was trying to find a safe space to calm himself down and Yelle didn't want him in there, so she and his para yanked him off the floor, cut his forehead with her ring (see pic), dragged him down two hallways and locked him in the seclusion room for 20 minutes. This restraint and seclusion was not warranted, nor done according to law.  This was not an emergency and my son was not an imminent danger to himself or others. This restraint and seclusion caused him a lot of emotional distress and trauma and then his behaviors began to escalate from there, including attempts to elope from the school due to fear of the school environment. 

Yelle began multiple seclusions, restraints (many undocumented), multiple suspensions (many undocumented with me being requested to pick Marcus up from school without suspension paperwork), school shooter threat assessments with police presence, harassment, discrimination, etc. 

 

When Yelle restrains Marcus, she does it with excessive force, causing bruises, scrapes and cuts. See images. Marcus would often come home crying, sharing that Mrs. Yelle hurt him so bad, squeezed his arms and hands so hard and pulled his arms behind his back and pushed his head down towards the ground. Yelle is a very large framed and large statured woman who is athletic and very strong. Each time Yelle would restrain and injure my son I would reach out to her to set up a time for a debriefing on the restraints and she would refuse to speak to me or set up a time. I never once received a MI Dept. of Education restraint and seclusion debriefing form. Yelle never provided the restraint and seclusion paperwork within 1 day and I would often have to ask for it over multiple days before receiving it. The only time I was ever able to address the restraint and seclusion was when Yelle would attend an IEP meeting for Marcus and I would start asking her questions about it. The team members would quickly steer the meeting back to the original agenda to prevent me from expressing my concern about the injuries and trauma my son was experiencing from the continued restraint and seclusion and how to prevent this from occurring in the future. 

 

Yelle calls the seclusion room the calming room or the break room.  It is a cement 10x10 dark room with nothing in it, not even a pad to sit on.  Marcus who suffers from PTSD from this, continually asks me "why did they lock me in there all the time?” The seclusions involved restraining and dragging Marcus into the seclusion room and a staff member standing in front of the door, so he couldn't leave.  The staff even have documentation of Marcus stating, "I don't want to go in that room.  You are going to trap me in there."  On Marcus's last day of school before he received a 90 day suspension, he was so desperate to not be dragged into the seclusion room that he was standing on tables throwing things at staff, so they couldn't grab him and drag him in there. 

 

Yelle purposefully wore large, sharp rings and jewelry before restraining Marcus. One day in an IEP meeting, Marcus spoke for the first few minutes and he begged Yelle to stop cutting him and hurting him with her rings. Marcus asked her to “please where mittens when you have to hold me down.” I watched Yelle hide her extremely large, sharp stone on her ring by turning it inside the palm of her hand. She did not know I was watching. I asked her what she did with her large ring and she stated “I don’t have a large ring on.” I told her I saw her turn the stone to the inside of her palm and she very reluctantly turned the very large gem stone around for the whole team to see, including my advocate. She had just restrained and injured Marcus that morning and told the team that “she doesn’t normally wear such large rings, but she decided to that day.” I have to wonder why a staff member would choose to wear large, sharp jewelry when they’re continually restraining a student unless they were intending to injure that student. 

 

I have many more examples of Yelle intentionally abusing Marcus. I also have examples of Yelle verbally harassing Marcus, discriminating against him and intentionally triggering him. Yelle has also continually been untruthful. I have asked numerous times to see camera footage and to do school observations and she has refused this. I was able to do one 60 minute observation while I was observed by the SPED director after asking for 6 months last year. 

 

With all the seclusions, restraints and abuse Marcus received it caused trauma, anxiety, paranoia, fight and flight, elopements, school avoidance, insomnia, increased aggression and academic regression.  Yelle and the IEP team including special ed director, Lori Morningstar, special ed resource room teacher, Amanda Roblyer, social worker, Heike Woodard have continually refused to address the trauma the seclusion and restraints have caused. This was all done with the knowledge and supervision of the superintendent, Heidi Cisieski. The team refused to update the BIP and consider different supports and services or interventions that could be used to help Marcus. Lori Morningstar refused and countersued me when I filed a due process order for an IEE of the FBA. The team refused to provide speech therapy services, to provide therapy with an OT (only consult), refused to provide Orton Gillingham instruction for dyslexia. Marcus’s IEP, safety plan and BIP were not being followed with fidelity and I witnessed this during classroom volunteering and revealed in documents of school observations from the school psychologist. 

 

The only change the team was willing to make was to  add a statement in Marcuss’s safety plan on how they would restrain and seclude him. This was done without my knowledge or permission which I was appalled by when I found it while reviewing documents one day. 

 

The last incident in which Marcus was suspended for 90 days involved Yelle dragging Marcus across the room, throwing him in a corner up against a wall and pushing her legs against his body. Marcus stated he continually yelled “give me space, give me space” Yelle refused, pushing her body up against him harder and harder until he began to kick her away. In many instances Yelle refused to follow any of the school training of CPI strategies of deescalation and only continued to repeatedly trigger and escalate Marcus, as many of the team did as well by following her lead. Yelle stated Marcus injured her, took pictures of her legs where she said she had injuries, but also medical records indicated she had skin discoloration on her legs from a medical condition. Yelle then charged Marcus with assault and battery and he currently has pending criminal charges. On the paperwork she provided the police department, she left out all of Marcus’s diagnoses except for Tourette’s Syndrome. 

 

The IEP team predetermined the outcome of Marcus’s MDR. This was proven because despite the literature evidence my guests and I provided that proved Marcus’s behaviors that he was being suspended for were word for word symptoms of his diagnoses, the Social Worker, Woodard stated “We Know Marcus chooses to have poor behavior.” The SPED director, Morningstar stated, “We know when his behaviors are from his disability and when he wants to do them on purpose.” This type of statement is equivalent to practicing medicine without a license in my opinion. 

 

The interim alternate education program was to put Marcus into the EI classroom in which Marcus’s advocates, psychiatrist and therapists repeatedly stated that the EI, most restrictive environment was not appropriate for Marcus. It was not appropriate due to the school team’s refusal to apply the knowledge they were provided by the Tourette Association that he requires positive, proactive measures, focusing on relationships and environmental factors verses treating him like an EI classroom where a reward system with consistent punishments are used to improve behavioral performance. 

 

My son’s psychiatrist wrote an order for homebound school to be provided for Marcus. Although the order contained all the state requirements, Morningstar refused to provide homebound services. I had no choice but to withdraw my son from FAPS and provide homeschool while both my husband and I work full time. 

 

I have many more examples of how FAPE was denied to Marcus if anyone is interested. 

 

I have email evidence to corroborate everything I’ve written on this email. 

 

Thank you 

Elizabeth and Tom Morrison 

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