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LPS Superintendent Statement Challenges NYT OpEd Alleging Mistreatment of Special Needs Student

In a written statement, Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash rejects claims made in an OpEd column by former Lexington resident Bill Lichtenstein, published over the weekend by the New York Times, that his daughter was mistreated at Fiske.

The following statement was provided by School Committee Chairwoman Margaret Coppe, on behalf of Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash. The bolded emphasis is theirs. Ash is also expected to address the issue at the School Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11. Read about

The Lexington Public Schools maintains a written policy concerning time-outs and our policy reflects and has always reflected State law.

The Lexington Public Schools keeps and has always kept meticulous records involving the education and treatment of Special Education students. Our notes involving the student in question, which were written on the days in question, do not reflect the account as described in the op-ed column.

When this matter first came to my attention, almost two years after the incident described in the op-ed column, I reviewed the logs and based on the detailed contemporaneous notes I read, I found that staff members followed district protocol.

Finally, despite the parent’s claim that he complained to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and Department of Children and Family Services, at no time was I contacted by any State agency indicating that a complaint had been filed concerning the treatment of this student. Furthermore, we have contacted the two state agencies mentioned, to ask whether a complaint was on record and we were told today that there is no record of either agency having received a complaint.

John Kelly September 11, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Dear anonymous "Guest": Anonymous ad hominem attacks aren't worth the internet bytes they're written on.
LexingtonGuest September 11, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Dear Mr. Lichtenstein, As a concerned parent of a Lexington school child I applaud your courage to speak out about your child's terrible experience and only by shining a light on this practice will help end it. I also do understand you need to defend from people who can't believe it happens here in Lexington and somehow tend to blame the victim. However, the legal material you have posted has considerable background on your daughters private medical history and may be something that when she is of an age truly to make decisions for herself, she does not want scattered all over the internet. As a parent, I recommend you remove it immediately or at least heavily redact it to protect her privacy.
nallex September 11, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I'm not an attorney, but my reading of Paragraph 5 in the General Release is that it's a pretty strong confidentiality statement. Regardless of who's "right" here, should Mr. Lichtenstein be so grossly in violation of this contract that he signed? Again, I'm not an attorney, but to my amateur eyes, it seems like Mr. Lichtenstein exposes himself to significant liability by discussing this issue so publicly.
x September 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Lexington needs more of this -- more special needs students to be cared for at great public expense, more parents of special needs students to complain about their child's treatment, more op-ed pieces, more litigation, more distraction,... and less attention and resources devoted to other students. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Annienonymous September 14, 2012 at 02:11 PM
There is a cost to speaking the truth. Thankfully there are still ethical people like Mr. Lichtenstein that will speak up so others know what is going on in schools around the country - not just Lexington.

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