DCYF says no wrongdoing by Harmony Hill staff - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

DCYF says no wrongdoing by Harmony Hill staff

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The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families has finished a six-week investigation into the broken arm of a student at Harmony Hill School in Glocester.

The boy's arm was broken by staff during a restraint on May 31, but the department, which licenses the school for troubled boys, has determined there was no institutional abuse or physical neglect.

"DCYF has concluded that there does not exist a preponderance of evidence to support the allegations against the facility and/or the staff persons involved in the restraint," a report said.

The report that the school sent to the boy's mother, Anna Belle Alexander, doesn't even hint at abuse. Rather, it suggests the boy was being protected from himself when staff grabbed him that night.

The report includes the phrases "youth was unsafely rocking in a chair … he would have to be escorted to a safe area … Staff went to assist youth from his chair … no less restrictive techniques would have been appropriate."

The boy doesn't deny punching in the face the first staffer who reached for his arm.

"Once youth assaulted staff a standing PRT (physical restraint technique) was applied. Youth fought the restraint and for everyone's safety a takedown was applied," the report said, which suggests a professional restraint was applied, and an accidental injury occurred.

But when the boy reached the hospital for treatment, doctors there interviewed him and his version included a hold that's not a part of a safe restraint.

"He doesn't remember how but he ended up on the floor with his right arm behind his back, being pulled up. He then heard a snap, and then it felt numb," a Hasbro Children's Hospital report said.

The case was in court Monday, and while NBC 10 News was not allowed into the hearing, Alexander said afterwards, "I feel that the judge that is on the case is very angry. He doesn't like how things have turned out. He doesn't think my son should go back to Harmony Hill."

"He said things like that should not happen to children. Why is he still at Harmony Hill?" Alexander said.

She said the 13-year-old, 145-pound boy is now at another facility.

The director of DCYF has agreed to an interview Tuesday afternoon.

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