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Cesar Chavez and the Common Sense of Nonviolence Jose-Antonio Orosco Orosco seeks to elevate Chavez as an original thinker. Chavez developed distinct ideas about nonviolent theory that are timely for dealing with today’s social and political issues, including racism, sexism, immigration, globalization, and political violence. oin,14 ,11 University of New Mexico Press UNMPRESS.COM 800.249.7737 Serving the Austin community since 1975 SAVE AND SUSTAIN BOOK-WOMAN Help save an endangered species: The independent women’s bookstore For details go to Observer. He tries not to harm residents and to maintain proper technique when restraining them. But it’s hard when a grown man or a 17-year-old girl who’s committed violent crimes is kicking, punching, and biting. Patients sometimes fall or become injured during restraints, in which case the workers likely face abuse charges. The three state schools that house court referralsSan Angelo, Corpus Christi, and Mexiaare the most violent in the state. Between 2005 and September 2007, the three facilities accounted for 57 percent of the abuse allegations in the 13-facility system. During the past three years, patients and staff called in more than 16,000 allegations of neglect in state schools. But just because abuse was alleged doesn’t mean it actually happened. In fact, the majority of the complaints are found to be fabricated. Residents can use phones in each facility to call an abuse hotline any time. Some residents use the hotline against the staff. They regularly call in false complaints against staff they either don’t like or become angry with. State abuse policy is stringent. It requires an investigation of all allegations. Accused workers must go on leave, potentially for weeks, during an investigation, which can further deplete a staff that says it’s overstretched. When investigators probed those 16,000 allegations, they dozen state school employees interviewed for this story said the 1,266 cases of verified abuse made the facilities appear more violent than they actually are. The Department of Aging and Disability Services, the state agency that runs the state schools, has strict definitions of abuse, which can include a staffer making a mean comment or simply failing to prevent two residents from having consensual sex. For instance, in 2005, there were 30 confirmed incidents of sexual abuse at San Angelo State School. But dig deeper, and it turns out that 27 of those occurred on a single afternoon, when three workers told inappropriate sexual jokes in front of nine residents. Three workers and nine residents, under the state rules, equaled 27 separate incidents of abuse. This doesn’t minimize the real abuse that has occurred. In one of the most gruesome incidents uncovered by the Observer, an employee at Mexia State School in East Texas earlier this year repeatedly bashed a resident’s head into a metal fire door. The impacts left large dents in the metal exterior. When other staffers tried to intervene, he pushed them away and told them to “close their eyes,” according to state records. \(The employee And as in Nancy’s case, there are incidents of likely abuse that, for whatever reason, state officials have tossed aside as “unsubstantiated” and forgotten. Karen Yeaman’s son broke her arm. It was late March, and Lathom, who’s 17 and autistic, was visiting Karen and her husband for a weekend away from his group home. Lathom possesses the strength and hormonal surges you would expect of a teen ager coupled with the mind of a 12-year-old. That weekend, he had an episode. He became upsetit was hard to know why exactly. Karen reacted the wrong way; she did exactly what she counsels others against. It’s better to stay away until the episode passes. Weeks later, her right arm still in a cast, she shakes her head at her own foolishness. She should have known better than to approach him, try to calm him down with words or a touch. Lathom was diagnosed with autism in 1998 at age 7. Yuman and her husband were living in Dripping Springs, where they own a business that sells ranch fencing. The Dripping Springs public schools couldn’tand in Yeaman’s view didn’t try to accommodate Lathom’s needs. He spent long stretches of the day shunted to a corner. Karen moved into her mother’s house in the suburb of Clear Lake and enrolled Lathom in a specialized private school outside Houston. The school was 50 miles away. Karen and her mother dropped Lathom off and picked him up-200 miles of driving each day. The tuition was $25,000 annually; gas for the commute added another $10,000. For two years, it was worth it. His mind calmed; episodes become infrequent, and his IQ rose nine points in a year. He even played Little League. Karen keeps a picture in her wallet of Lathom in his blue baseball uniform. “I usually don’t carry pictures of my kids. I’m not one of those people she says, opening her wallet. “Isn’t that a great picture?” In the photo, Lathom has assumed the standard baseball card pose: kneeling on one knee. He is smiling. “It was almost like a typical kid.” But the Yeamans couldn’t afford to make it last. The tuition and travel depleted their savings. After two years, they returned to Dripping Springs. Lathom’s condition deterio MAY 2, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9