John Archer parents address abuse allegations

Parents of three students at the John Archer School, the county's school for special needs children, made allegations of child abuse, and one told of a child whose arms allegedly were restrained for several hours. The allegations came at Monday at a regular meeting of the Harford County Board of Education.

The parents all said they've been asking questions about the alleged incidents for months and have yet to get any answers.

Janice Wright, the mother of student Matthew Wright, told the board she had e-mailed each member requesting a meeting with the parents and no one responded to her.

Wright, of the 4000 block of Oak Ridge Drive in Street, said a teacher allegedly restrained her son with his arms behind his back last year. She also mentioned a different student who was allegedly restrained in a chair for three hours.

"This meets the state's definition of abuse," Wright said. Despite these allegations, the mother said no action has been taken by the school system, adding, "This type of behavior is deplorable."

Board members did not respond to the allegations at the meeting. The school system's communications manager, Teri Kranefeld, wrote in an e-mail Tuesday, "The school system is aware of the allegations and an investigation is underway."

Reports of abuse at John Archer School made to the Harford County Sheriff's Office were not immediately available Tuesday.

"The tyranny [of the school system] is prevalent and needs to end," Wright said.

Frank Janczak — who was at the school board meeting with his wife, Beth, and their children, one of whom attends John Archer — told the board he was representing the parents and their kids who allegedly have been "restrained in an unsafe fashion" at the school.

"We come here looking for someone to trust," Janczak, of the 2000 block of Ady Road in Forest Hill, said.

The parent said he and other families have wanted answers as to why and how these alleged incidents happened.

"This is taking entirely too long," Janczak said.

Beth Janczak also spoke before the board, reading a letter from parents of a John Archer student who were unable to make it that night.

The son of the not-present couple has attended the school for seven to eight years and only recently heard of the alleged incident involving Matthew Wright.

"We're very concerned about the safety of our son," Janczak read from the letter.

The Janczaks' 17-year-old daughter has attended John Archer since she was in the infants and toddlers program and, the mother said, the school has appeared to decline since the recent administration took over.

"Take my concern seriously," she told the board.

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