Success Stories

We are fully committed to helping and fighting to keep institutions from neglecting and abusing special needs children and adolescents.

These are some of their stories…

Success Story 1

District Misplacement

By Shane Halajko Jr.

Early in the year, The Team Shawnie Advocacy Group (TSAG) received notice from one of our state legislators that a local family was struggling to attain out-of-district placement for their special needs son, who was only five years old at the time, and soon to be going into kindergarten. 

Their son had already had bad experiences during his short time in the school’s care, and his parents were desperately fighting to get their son a fair and safe education. Their son suffered heavily from the neglect and incompetence of his teacher, which was reported to the school multiple times. It eventually reached the point where their son’s 1-on-1 would get sent away without proper justification, leading to the five-year-old boy being sent home in soiled pants. 

The family was struggling to negotiate out-of-district placement with the school district, who even after a full Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigation into the issue, denied having any knowledge of the neglect and abuse. TSAG worked tirelessly and directly with the family in order to develop a plan to secure the school placement for their son. After countless meetings and negotiations with the parents and the school district, TSAG was able to show the school that their action had serious negative consequences on the family’s young boy, and they were responsible for outsourcing his education to a school of the parent’s choice; a school that could properly address his special needs and prevent him from ever having to experience the neglect and abuse that he suffered again.

Team Shawnie Advocacy Group recently spoke with the family months after we helped them fight to secure out-of-district placement, and we are delighted to hear that their son is thriving in his new school. The Team Shawnie Advocacy Group was happy to work with this fantastic family and help their son get a safe and proper education. We will never stand idle when we hear that a child has suffered from abuse at the hands of a caretaker, and will continue to fight your fight going into 2022 and beyond!

Success Story 2

Bullying Ignored by School

By Shane Halajko Jr.

Once again the Team Shawnie Advocacy Group was reached out to by a member of the Massachusetts Commonwealth legislation to request our aid in helping a mother secure out-of-district placement for her special needs son who was suffering from severe bullying in his middle school.

After we reviewed the case, TSAG found that the bullying of the mother’s son was reported very frequently to the school throughout the years of his time in the district. The child was pushed, harassed, and socially isolated from his peers constantly, and asked his mother and the school for help every time. As a result of this, the son began to suffer heavily from anxiety. The school would respond to each complaint, yet take no action to remedy the bullying that the boy continued to experience. In fact, the school took the mother’s son off of his Individual Education Plan (IEP), removing the protection that he had from the IEP during this process. Due to the school’s negligence and inability to remedy the bullying, the boy’s grade’s have suffered heavily, and he has been struggling with anxiety at just the age of 13.

At notice of this neglect, TSAG immediately stepped in and focused first on preventing the boy from experiencing the constant daily bullying. He was removed from in-person schooling and had work sent home to him while we worked with the mother and the school district to negotiate a new plan for her son, and take action. Within a week, TSAG was able to help the mother secure first a safe, temporary education plan for her son. He kept up with his education through a hybrid method of schooling and at-home learning, ensuring that he would not interact with the students who were consistently harassing him. Our next step was to help the mother reimplement her son’s IEP, so he could be evaluated for out-of-district placement at a school that knows how to remedy bullying when it is reported to them for years on end.

Going into 2022, TSAG will be monitoring the new plan that we helped negotiate between the mother and the school. We focused heavily on ensuring first that her son was safe while he was re-evaluated for an IEP that could help him maintain his safety going into the new year and beyond. The Team Shawnie Advocacy Group is dedicated to families of children with special needs. We can confidently say that going into the new year and beyond, we will continue to fight your fight.


P.S. We have received this update from the family:

Good Afternoon,

I just wanted to thank everyone again and give you a quick update. Tristan is having the best week ever in school. All the students have been amazing to Tristan both boys and girls. He says everyone talks to him including him in conversations and he said Dighton kids are so different than anything I’ve ever experienced. Everyone, from boys and girls, talk with him in class. He is making friends, he likes his lunch table and even ran into a couple of kids, one in particular that used to go to Rehoboth schools that is now in Dighton and is treating him so nicely now. He told Tristan, “Tristan it is so different here, the kids, you are going to really like it here”.  
 
His Dighton football players he played with 8th and 7th graders are coming up to him in the hallways just to say hi Tristan all day long, or Hi Tristan I heard you were here just wanted to say hi. It’s a world he was not allowed to ever have experienced in Rehoboth. 
 
It is like a whole new lease on life for Tristan. I can’t thank you enough.
 
Best regards,
 
Christine