New Report Slams School’s Response to Near-Death of Student with Autism

flag of the State of Kentucky with two people shanking hands, "United we Stand, Divided we Fall"

by Andy Jones
December 19, 2016

On the morning of November 11, 2014, Brennan Long, a 16-year-old boy with autism, allegedly was causing a disruption in his classroom at the Kentucky-based Binet School by refusing to sit in his chair and arguing with school staff.

An aide at the school responded by allegedly breaking the femur bones in both of Long’s legs, the strongest bone in the human body, which resulted in him having to spend eight days in an intensive care unit, having titanium rods implanted in each leg, and having a permanent limp.

Subsequent medical reports estimated that the aide would have to apply as much as 544 pounds of force to each of Brennan’s legs to cause such an injury.

Having first learned of the incident in May 2016, Kentucky Protection and Advocacy launched an investigation into the school’s restraint procedures and response to Long’s injuries. The report, released November 29, concluded that the restraint was improper and violated state law.

Among its many findings, the Kentucky P&A found that Long’s conduct did not pose an "imminent danger of physical harm to self or others," and that the school failed to implement any of de-escalation techniques specified in the student's Individual Education Plan.

Furthermore, it reported that the school failed to preserve relevant video evidence and provided false statements to the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department or the state’s child protection services agency in subsequent investigations, neither of which pursued charges.

“This report highlights not only the inappropriate use of restraints at Binet, but also concerns about the lack of transparency and cooperation by school staff, the lack of training for lower level support staff in the areas of disability and restraint, and a culture of restraint that appears to prevail at Binet,” P&A Director Jeffrey P. Edwards said in a news release. “Students like Brennan have the right to be educated without violence.”

The full report can be read here.

Disability Rights Washington and Kentucky Protection and Advocacy are the designated protection and advocacy agencies in Washington and Kentucky, respectively, and are members of the National Disability Rights Network.