Woman says she wants to file suit against Harmony Hill - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Woman says she wants to file suit against Harmony Hill

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A woman who says her teenage son's arm was broken by staff at Harmony Hill School told NBC 10 on Tuesday she has contacted a lawyer and wants to file a civil lawsuit against the school.

Harmony Hill provides specialized programming and services to those with social, emotional, behavioral and learning needs.

Annabelle Alexander told NBC 10 on Thursday that staff at the school broke the arm of her 13-year-old son while restraining him on June 1. The boy was placed at the school after he repeatedly ran away from group homes.

A former Harmony Hill worker, who declined to identify himself, says violence by staff is typical.

"It's a constant pattern that's been happening for a number of years," the former employee told NBC 10 on Monday.

The former employee contacted NBC 10 after our report. The school apparently also reached out to Alexander after NBC 10's report, sending a staff member to her Providence apartment.

Since NBC 10's report, the school mailed a report of her son's broken arm incident to Alexander. She said the school never contacted her after her boy's arm was broken.

"They should contact me in the event anything happens. Let me tell you, they did contact me when he got in a fight at school. But when he got his arm broken they didn't contact me," Alexander said.

Alexander said she met with representatives from the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families on June 3. She said they told her abuse allegations were unfounded indicating that an investigation had been completed.

When told that DCYF said it has had an ongoing investigation since June 1, Alexander said, "That's a doggone lie."

She told NBC 10 that she wants her son removed from the school.

"I want him out of there now. I still feel he is unsafe. Why hasn't DCYF removed him? That's felony assault," Alexander said.

She said former students at the school have told her about conditions at the school, and she's horrified.

"They have beaten them down to the ground even if they are on medication. Even on medication, they still beat them up," Alexander said.

Harmony Hill School President and CEO Eric James said in a statement to NBC 10, "We are aware of the allegation, which we take very seriously, and are cooperating fully with the investigation. We are also conducting our own internal review, which is on-going. We will have more comment when that process is complete."

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