Autistic 7 Year old Arrested at School Held for 6 Days Without Consent
Handcuffed by police for 'misbehaving' at school
A 7-year-old special needs student was handcuffed for misbehaving at school on May 9 and held in a mental health facility for six days without the consent of his parents, a Texas Fox affiliate reports.
District officials claim the boy was restrained for his own safety, but his arrest was captured on camera and the photos don’t appear to show what the officials claim.
Contrary to what one would expect to see in a picture of an out-of-control 7-year-old, the boy appears to be standing calmly beside two uniformed officers.
Finally released on Monday, the boy’s family is outraged and looking for answers.
The child’s mother said she received a call from the school—Gabe B. Allen Charter School in Dallas, Texas—which notified her that her son was misbehaving and asked her to pick him up. When she arrived, her son was gone.
“My son was acting up, which he does every other day,” the boy’s mother said. “My son was running, which he does every other day. My son was saying absurdities, which he does every other day. And just like every other day, I was called to go and pick him up that morning on a Tuesday morning. When I got there, ‘Where’s my baby?’ ‘Oh, he’s not here.’”
The family and their attorney said the school violated district protocol by failing to seek consent before detaining their son in a facility for nearly a week. It is unclear why he was held for so long, but the family’s attorney said they were informed that the boy was released once it was determined that he no longer posed a danger to himself or others.
Images of the handcuffed child quickly went viral online, prompting the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to issue a statement addressed to parents.
“The image you may have seen posted is of a student while he is being restrained to protect himself against any further harm,” the statement said. “We ask for your help during this period to not continue to spread misinformation.”
The DISD told Fox4 that it cannot comment further on details of the incident, citing privacy laws.
The child is finally back in the custody of his family, but they have requested a detailed account of what occurred on May 9, and they have questions about whether the school’s staff members are adequately trained to handle children with autism or other special needs.