Parents angry because Vista School District won't remove violent special needs student from class

Parents pulling their children out in protest

OCEANSIDE, Calif. - Some concerned parents in Oceanside contacted 10News because they say the Vista Unified School District refuses to remove a violent special needs child from their children's kindergarten class.

The parents told 10News the child acts out so violently he often needs aides to physically restrain him. Two mothers who contacted 10News are livid about the behavior they've witnessed, and they, along with more than a dozen parents, are pulling their kids out of class in protest.

There are close to 15 parents from Empresa Elementary School in Oceanside who say the school district is doing nothing to help their situation. The parents say they understand wanting to mainstream a special needs child, but not at the expense of their children.

Two mothers spoke to 10News, but didn't want to show their faces on camera for fear of retaliation. They say their kindergartners who attend Empresa Elementary School are being put in vulnerable positions because the school district refuses to remove a violent student.

"It's absolutely scary and terrifying behavior. It is something that I'd never, never want my child subjected to," said one concerned mother.
 
The student, they say, has special needs and has displayed behaviors that disrupt learning and can be a danger to others.

"Kicking, hitting, yelling, screaming, on chairs, on desks, under desks ... running away ...," said one mother.

They told 10News they're fed up with the school and the district because their children have been exposed to this behavior since September and the child is still in their classroom.

"My daughter, in fact, was punched by this child, so she witnesses things going on that a 5-year-old should not have to watch," said one mother.

10News visited the school district and spoke to Superintendent Dr. Devin Vodicka. He wouldn't talk on camera due to concerns about student confidentiality, but he told 10News the situation is being handled.
 
In a statement, Vodicka said:

"Vista Unified School District is committed to ensuring a safe learning environment for each and every student. We are following all appropriate Board Policies, the California Education Code, and safety protocols. We are also committed to being responsive to any questions or concerns related to student safety. I am confident that we will be able to arrive at appropriate resolutions to these concerns while also respecting the privacy rights of all individuals involved."

The parents told 10News until the district does something about the situation, 15 to 20 parents will be pulling their kids out of class in protest Thursday and Friday of this week.

"There are no winners in this situation. Our children are losing, the school is losing by pulling our children out ... and protesting ... the principal is losing, this child who has special needs is losing; there are no winners in this situation," a parent said.

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