Monday, July 16, 2007

R.B. v. Napa Valley Unified School Dist. (9th Cir. - July 16, 2007)

Some people have very little chance. Even at birth. Which is incredibly, incredibly sad.

Listen to the life of the little girl in this case:

"R.B. was born in 1991 to a mother who abused cocaine, alcohol, and heroin. In infancy, R.B. demonstrated symptoms of exposure to illegal drugs in utero (including irritability, delayed visual maturation, and delayed motor skills). Both of R.B.’s birth parents were incarcerated. F.B., a single parent and schoolteacher, adopted R.B. at eighteen months of age. . . . R.B. was molested by her natural father when she was two. Afterward, she required a year of play therapy because of her self-mutilation and inappropriate displays of affection."

As one might imagine, the litany of problems doesn't end there. She was expelled from three different preschool programs. She banged a second grade classmate’s head against a computer monitor for refusing to give up the computer at recess. She was suspended in third grade for throwing chairs and running off campus. She was suspended in fourth grade when she yelled at her teacher and was restrained by law enforcement. She was suspended in fifth grade -- twice in a month -- for twisting a child’s arm during recess, saying that she hoped her music teacher would die, and poking another student with a mechanical pencil.

The thing is: she gets really good grades in school, frequently makes the honor roll, and seems genuinely and inherently smart. But, at the same time, deeply, deeply disturbed.