(Screenshot / CBS News)
Being a parent can be challenging, and the challenges can increase when you’re caring for a child with autism. This is in large part due to a general lack of information from the general public, who often don’t know quite how to co-exist with someone on the spectrum. Children on the spectrum especially often require more understanding to accommodate their needs. It’s a problem many parents say is pervasive in schools, where staff often lack proper training on the matter. One such mom is Luanne Haygood. The Florida-based mom is now speaking out after she filmed her 10-year-old son being arrested on school grounds for an alleged attack she says never should have happened.
Haygood’s son John is a student at the Okeechobee Achievement Academy. The boy has been home-bound for months after he allegedly kicked and punched one of his teachers at the school last year. His mother asserts that this altercation occurred due to the school staff’s inefficient training on dealing with kids on the autism spectrum.
A Parent’s Worst Nightmare
Then, on April 12th, the child was sent to school for mandatory testing. It was there that a school resource officer recognized him and recalled the 10 year old has an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
“I asked, ‘Are you going to arrest him right now?’ She said, ‘Yes ma’am, we have to,’” Haygood told CBS 12.
As you might imagine, the boy was beyond perplexed and agitated.
I don’t know what’s going on, mama!” John yelled out as he was detained by Okeechobee County Sheriff deputies. The boy was handcuffed and put in the back of a police vehicle, and taken to juvenile detention overnight.
Haygood captured the horrifying incident on camera.
Haywood hopes that her son’s experience might raise more awareness around the lack of proper services that are supposed to be available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
“Now, maybe something will be changed,” she said. Here’s hoping that this terrible incident prompts Okeechobee County Schools and others like them to address these situations in a more appropriate manner.