Hutchinson High School: School district officials confine and terrorize child for a second time

Cease and Desist letter issued as police investigate

by Timothy Charles Holmseth on May 19, 2015 at 10:15 A.M.

The May 14 incident at Hutchinson High School that involved the unlawful confinement and physical assault of a minor in an office by a violent teacher, which was reported to police, has escalated into another major event.

On May 18, Debbra Marcotte, director of teacher and learning, traveled to the school, pulled the victim out of class, and attempted to question the learning disabled student on the record without an advocate.

Debbra Marcotte

Marcotte’s curious actions have drawn suspicion.

Marcotte had an appointment to meet with the child and parent much later in the afternoon, but pulled the child out of class, three and a half hours before the scheduled meeting.

The second incident has resulted in a Cease and Desist letter by the child’s parent, which was submitted to the school superintendent, Daron VanderHeiden.

“This CEASE AND DESIST ORDER is to inform you that your ISD 423 staff's persistent actions including but not limited to harassing, intimidating, violation of rights and confining my minor child, [REDACTED], have become unbearable. ISD 423 staff are ORDERED TO STOP such activities immediately as they are being done in violation of the law,” the letter reads in part.

The second incident involved Marcotte attempting to coerce the minor child, a student with a learning disability, to sign a Tennessen Warning against his/her will.

According to the Minnesota Department of Administration:

The government must give individuals notice when collecting private or confidential information from them. This is referred to as a "Tennessen warning notice." Government may also call it a "privacy notice," a "notice of collection of private/confidential data," or something similar. The purpose of the notice is to enable people to make informed decisions about whether to give information about themselves to the government.

The events that have transpired may hold serious legal ramifications for the School District, because the child is on a 504 plan – a federal plan under civil rights law that helps students with learning disabilities participate in the general curriculum with some accommodations and modifications.  

The child is also a potential crime victim because of the events that transpired on May 14, 2015, which were reported to the Hutchinson Police Department.

The latest incident is eerily similar to the first incident.

“I received a text message from REDACTED,” the child’s parent said, explaining how she found out that Marcotte was attempting to question her child.

“When I got to the school he/she was crying,” the parent said, explaining there was a tape recorder on the table but it had not been activated yet.

According to the child’s mother, her child was sobbing and repeatedly told Marcotte he/she didn’t know what the paper (Tennessen Warning) was or meant and didn’t want to sign it.

The child’s mother said she asked Marcotte why she didn’t notify her that a change had taken place in the meeting time; and that Marcotte just stared at her.

According to the child’s mother, Michael Scott, the assistant principal, showed her where Marcotte had taken the child into a closed room in the back of the library. Scott asked Marcotte if she wanted him to stay and she said ‘no’.

Michael Scott

The child's mother said Scott originally pulled the child out of class at Marcotte's direction. The child knew they had an appointmment later in the afternoon and told Scott he didn't want to talk to Marcotte. Scott told the child he would have tell Marcotte that himself and forced him to go with her.

Marcotte said she had been instructed to change the appointment time by VanderHeiden.

Daron VanderHeiden

The Cease and Desist letter issued today contained powerful statements by the child's parent.

“My [child] is on a 504 plan for a reason. I know what a Tennessen Warning is. He/she had the right to refuse-which he/she did. But Ms. Deb Marcotte chose to threaten him/her for his/her refusal stating "if he/she didn't talk, he/she would have to stay there until the bell rang at the end of the day," the parent said.

“It was very disturbing to hear another staff member was trying to keep my minor child in a room against his/her will to threaten and coerce him/her. Not to mention, how disturbing it was to find them together as he'she was balling (not crying) because of her actions. Which, Mr. Scott also saw,” she said.

“I am requesting the immediate dismissal/retirement of Mr. Bruce Eckhart for his actions and history of actions upon my [child] and family. Previous incidents were reported over the past few months,” she said.

Bruce Eckhart

The child’s parent is in contact with an attorney regarding the systematic violation of the child civil rights.

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