10 year old autism arrested

Father: 9-year-old with autism arrested for fighting back against bullies

FRANKLIN, Indiana (KTRK) — A father in Indiana released video of his 9-year-old son being arrested at his elementary school.
Ronnie Shepherd says his son, who has autism, was defending himself against bullies who hit him on the playground, WRTV reports.

“He’s watched the video several times. He still talks about it. He’s pretty traumatized over the whole ordeal. Any 9-year-old that’s being arrested, they don’t know what’s going on,” said Shepperd.
But the police chief said the student was arrested for battering another student, as well as two teachers.
The child was charged as a juvenile with battery and criminal mischief. Those charges were later dropped.
Franklin Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan confirms that a student at the elementary school was arrested for battering another student as well as two teachers.
The boy’s father said this incident happened a few months ago. He said he decided it was time to share video of his son’s arrest so parents know what’s happening in school.
The superintendent of Franklin schools would not comment on whether the child injured anyone and his status at the school.
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BENNETT, Colo. — A boy on the autism spectrum, who was arrested by an Adams County sheriff’s deputy, is not facing criminal charges.

Sam Costa was arrested at Bennett Middle School in February after what his mother, Danielle, describes as a meltdown, where he was not properly restrained.

“Because he wasn’t being properly restrained, he was able to strike people,” Danielle Costa told the Problem Solvers. “That’s true. And I want to say, he was also biting people.”

Sam – who was then 10 years old – was also cursing and spitting, according to an Adams County Sheriff’s Office report obtained by the Problem Solvers.

Meanwhile, the Bennett School District Superintendent told the Problem Solvers everyone who made contact with Sam was certified to restrain him.

After the episode, a sheriff’s deputy arrested Sam.

“Oh my gosh, I was shocked,” said Danielle Costa.

The Bennett municipal prosecutor declined to press charges against Sam. So the sheriff’s office took the case to District Attorney Dave Young.

“I’m assuming there was a miscommunication out there,” Young told the Problem Solvers. “The reports that we got from the sheriff’s office indicated that the municipal prosecutor wanted to pursue charges in state court.”

Young also recently learned that Sam is on the autism spectrum and is in a special education program in Douglas County schools. So the DA decided not to refer Sam to a diversion program.

“At the end of the day, I wish nothing but the best for the child,” Young said.

“To me, the fact that this ever happened to Sam feels wrong,” Danielle said. “That feels like an injustice. It never should’ve gone as far as it did.”

Danielle has created a Facebook page called Autism Isn’t A Crime to bring awareness to the issue and created a Justice for Sam page on Bonfire.

The Problem Solvers asked the Adams County Sheriff’s Office why all of the information in the case wasn’t forwarded to the district attorney’s office, but did not get an answer.

John Benjamin Haygood visited a Okeechobee, Florida school last week to complete standardized testing. The 10-year-old, who has autism, left in the back of a police car.

Watching his arrest unfold, his mom Luanne Haygood pulled out her phone and captured the unsettling moment police handcuffed her son. John is heard saying, “I don’t know what’s going on” as officials lead him out to the car.

In October, the student at Okeechobee Achievement Academy disrupted the class by throwing paper balls, the incident report states. After his paraprofessional gave him a time out, John refused, allegedly punching and kicking the educator.

The documents also assert John made threats to kill the paraprofessional, prompting the unnamed school employee to file charges. He said John “had been given plenty of opportunities to change his behavior and has not,” CNN reports.

The Academy later expelled John, prompting him to complete schoolwork at home. The child returned to campus last week to take a standardized test, but “was not being compliant and refused to test,” the documents state. That’s when the arresting officer informed John’s mom that he had an active warrant for felony battery, a complete surprise to her.

“When it happened I was angry, like really? He’s been out of school for six months; he could have been arrested at any time,” Luanne told WBPF. She believes the charges — and his behavior — stem from his autism. She also alleges the educator in question also contributed to the situation.

The boy spent a night at jail, and is now due in court on May 11. Prosecutor Ashley Albright told the Washington Post he plans to offer the child a “nonjudicial sanction,” providing counseling and services to John instead of pursuing criminal charges.

“It’s clear from his history, even at such a young age, that I think he needs some assistance so that he doesn’t end up in the criminal justice system in the future,” he said.

However, Luanne doesn’t agree with that course of action at all. “Frankly, I’m offended by that,” the mom responded. “They know he has a disability, and they’re still treating him like a criminal.”

Related Story Caroline Picard Health Editor Caroline is the Health Editor at GoodHousekeeping.com covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, FLA. —

Luanne Haygood, the mother of a 10-year-old boy with autism, is angry that her son was arrested earlier this month at his Florida school for allegedly punching and kicking his teacher six months ago. Okeechobee County school resource officers put the child in handcuffs at Okeechobee Achievement Academy, but Haygood said the school district isn’t properly equipped to deal with autistic children.

“He has autism. He doesn’t know what’s going on,” she can be heard saying in the video that she recorded of her son’s arrest. “He’s scared to death. He’s 10 years old.”

>> Watch Haygood’s video here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

Haygood watched as her son was removed from his classroom for allegedly leaving a paraprofessional with scratches and other marks back in October. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant on allegations of felony battery on a school board authority.

“I was extremely angry. That I felt like this was a power play. I felt like this was a this is what you get. You can’t do anything about it. We’re going to arrest your son if he can’t abide by the rules,” Haygood told WFOR, adding that her son’s disability is the reason behind his behavior. “To go and have him arrested on school grounds in front of other students, in front of personnel, during school hours – they could’ve come to my house at any time to tell me what was going on.”

>> Read more trending news

The boy reportedly spent one night in juvenile detention, according to the Washington Post. The child was then released on house arrest and is expected to appear in court next month.

Haygood said the incident would never have happened if the school had the proper services to address his disability.

“I want something done,” she told WFOR. “I want other kids to not have to go through this.”

According to CNN, the school district released the following statement:

“It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest.

“The district routinely assists students by providing services from our board certified behavioral analyst, licensed mental health counselors, school social workers, and psychologists. As a team, these individuals develop interventions, conduct assessments, and offer support both at school and in the home in order to assist students and families.

“The district is unable to provide specific information as to both current and past incidents regarding this or any other student due to educational laws and rules. It is our hope that we can continue to work with all families to help their students improve both behaviorally and academically.”

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, FLA. —

Luanne Haygood, the mother of a 10-year-old boy with autism, is angry that her son was arrested earlier this month at his Florida school for allegedly punching and kicking his teacher six months ago. Okeechobee County school resource officers put the child in handcuffs at Okeechobee Achievement Academy, but Haygood said the school district isn’t properly equipped to deal with autistic children.

“He has autism. He doesn’t know what’s going on,” she can be heard saying in the video that she recorded of her son’s arrest. “He’s scared to death. He’s 10 years old.”

>> Watch Haygood’s video here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

Haygood watched as her son was removed from his classroom for allegedly leaving a paraprofessional with scratches and other marks back in October. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant on allegations of felony battery on a school board authority.

“I was extremely angry. That I felt like this was a power play. I felt like this was a this is what you get. You can’t do anything about it. We’re going to arrest your son if he can’t abide by the rules,” Haygood told WFOR, adding that her son’s disability is the reason behind his behavior. “To go and have him arrested on school grounds in front of other students, in front of personnel, during school hours – they could’ve come to my house at any time to tell me what was going on.”

>> Read more trending news

The boy reportedly spent one night in juvenile detention, according to the Washington Post. The child was then released on house arrest and is expected to appear in court next month.

Haygood said the incident would never have happened if the school had the proper services to address his disability.

“I want something done,” she told WFOR. “I want other kids to not have to go through this.”

According to CNN, the school district released the following statement:

“It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest.

“The district routinely assists students by providing services from our board certified behavioral analyst, licensed mental health counselors, school social workers, and psychologists. As a team, these individuals develop interventions, conduct assessments, and offer support both at school and in the home in order to assist students and families.

“The district is unable to provide specific information as to both current and past incidents regarding this or any other student due to educational laws and rules. It is our hope that we can continue to work with all families to help their students improve both behaviorally and academically.”

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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Parents say 10-year-old son with autism was handcuffed, put in patrol car

OSCEOLA, Fla. – Parents of a 10-year-old boy who has autism say the child was handcuffed, put in the back of a patrol car and transported to a mental health facility after he ran from school administrators.

According to a federal lawsuit filed against the School District of Osceola County and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, the parents claim the incident happened in 2016 at Narcoossee Elementary School.

“It was probably one of our worst days,” said Jessica, the boy’s mother.

She didn’t want her last name being used in order to protect her son, who is now 13 years old.

She told News 6 her son ran away from school staff when he got in trouble for playing too rough at recess.

“Between the school resource officer and a couple of the administration, they tackled him, put him in handcuffs and put him in the back of a squad car and Baker Acted him,” said Corey, the boy’s father.

According to the federal lawsuit, the couple claims, “The staff at Narcoossee Elementary School failed to give (their son) his prescribed medication.”

“I didn’t know until we were sitting at the table that he wasn’t given his medicine that was prescribed,” Jessica said. “According to the doctor and according to the pharmacist, had he had his medicine at the time of recess, his behavior would’ve been under control.”

Spokespeople for Osceola schools and the Sheriff’s Office told News 6 they don’t comment on open lawsuits, although the Sheriff’s Office supplied a copy of policies and procedures used for holding someone under the Baker Act.

CLICK HERE: OSCEOLA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURE

“They need to understand what’s happening, and what’s going on with kids — especially special needs kids, like this,” said the boy’s father. “It’s becoming a real problem, and we don’t want to see that happen to any other kids.”

As a result of being handcuffed and put in a patrol car, the boy’s parents said their son now has difficulty with men and authority figures.

They said he’s also not attending Narcoossee Elementary School anymore, as they’ve chosen a different school for him to attend.

The parents of a 10-year-old boy with autism in Denton, Texas, say they are planning to take legal action after they received a video that showed their son being repeatedly held to the ground by his neck and handcuffed by a school resource officer.

In the events captured by the officer’s body camera — the footage was shared with ABC News and parts of which were corroborated with police reports — the child, Thomas, appears to try to isolate himself in a cubbyhole when he saw a teacher moving toward him.

Eric Coulston, a Denton Police Department school resource officer, then stepped forward to help after the teacher pulled Thomas out of the cubbyhole, according to a police report. Coulston carried Thomas to a vacant room, as he kicked, screamed and struggled to get away, according to the footage.

“Do you want the handcuffs? Or not?” Coulston asked in the room, according to the video footage, holding the boy face-down on the ground by his neck, as Thomas continued to struggle.

Coulston then pulled the boy’s arms behind his back and placed the handcuffs on the boy’s wrists, adding, “We’re back to where we were the other day.”

“Wanna kick some more?” Coulston said.

“Get off,” Thomas said repeatedly screaming as he sobbed.

Over the next two hours, Thomas was placed in restraints once more, held down by his neck for long periods of time, and allowed to sit up without the handcuffs when calm, according to a police report. The second time he’s placed in handcuffs was when he began to tear up tissues into small pieces and threw them in the direction of his teacher, the report says, adding that another time he slid himself towards the door before he was dragged back to the other end of the room and held down by his arms.

“It’s abuse, the torture, and the hell that he was put through,” Emily Brown, Thomas’ mother, told ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas of the April 30 incident.

The parents say it was only when they noticed Thomas had severe bruises on his body that they suspected he had been subjected to what they believed was an excessive use of force.

Thomas’ parents said they had a detailed behavior intervention plan in place with the school, which listed a set of de-escalation techniques for when he became agitated. Nowhere in that list, they said, was the use of restraints or holding him down to the ground with force permitted.

“It was abusive. It was excessive. It was vicious. It was calculated,” said Michael Holum, an advocate consultant representing the parents of the boy, Emily and Robert Brown.

What irks the parents most, Holum, who heads the Texas-based Advocacy Behavior Consulting, told ABC News, was that there did not appear to be any serious or imminent danger to the school authorities, himself or others when Thomas was placed in handcuffs.

“If he’s being put in handcuffs just because of a tissue, that’s outrageous,” he said. “I do this professionally in over 50 districts. This is the worst I have ever seen and there’s no close second.”

Holum said on April 23, a few days before the events took place in the video, Emily Brown walked in on her son in handcuffs.

Police say they will release footage from that separate incident to the Browns on Wednesday, but if events in that video of April 23 are similar, Holum said it will show a pattern of behavior on the part of authorities in their treatment of Thomas.

On April 23, Emily Brown found her son restrained in handcuffs at the school, things were calm and Thomas was sitting quietly in handcuffs, according to Holum. At the time, the mom didn’t realize what the authorities may have done before handcuffing the child — possibly holding him down and using excessive force, Holum said. She also took what they said at face value, Holum added, which was that Thomas was harming others and disrupting the classroom.

It was only when the Browns saw the bruises on Thomas from the second incident on April 30, Holum said, that they began to suspect something was wrong and asked for the footage.

When the parents received the footage on Tuesday, Holum said, Emily Brown was horrified and broke down in tears.

“The parents believe that both agencies, Denton Police and the Denton Independent School District, in and through their employees, participated in the events captured on the body-cam video,” Holum said. “They are seeking action, civil or criminal, that will keep these particular public employees from ever being able to be near children with disabilities again.”

The Browns are interviewing attorneys for their suit.

In a written summary by the Denton Independent School District, Thomas was described as engaging in self-harming behaviors and that he engaged in “physically assaultive and unsafe behaviors.”

“SRO Coulston deemed handcuffs appropriate a second time in order to minimize the student’s ability to harm himself or engage in acts of violence against others,” according to the report.

The Denton Police Department Office of Professional Standards initiated a review of the incident and no violations were found, a statement by the City of Denton said. Coulston is still employed as a school resource officer at a middle school in the school district. He did not immediately respond to ABC News’ direct requests for comment.

The Browns, meanwhile, said they “vehemently disagree” with the findings that there was no violation of policy or laws. The parents said they want an independent investigative agency, either from the state or the federal government, to conduct an investigation.

“We as parents will never stop fighting for our son,” a statement from the parents said, “or other children, so that they can be safe within the walls of their school and free of physical, emotional and psychological at the hands of the very people that are publicly employed to protect them.”

(CNN) – A Florida mother demanded answers after her 10 year old son, who has autism, was arrested at his school. The mother recorded the arrest on her cell phone.

You can hear the fear and confusion as 10 year old John Benji Haygood is taken away in handcuffs at school Wednesday.

His mother, Luanne Haygood, recorded the video on her cell phone, hoping to expose that this was how deputies handled her child, who’s been diagnosed with autism.

Luanne Haygood said, “When he was saying, ‘I don’t understand mama, I don’t understand. What’s going on’? That broke my heart.”

Haygood says her special needs son was forced to spend the night behind bars at a juvenile facility in Fort Pierce before she could finally take him home this morning.

Haygood added, “His lip was quivering. He was scared. He could barely say his own name.”

The Okeechobee county sheriff’s office served the juvenile version of a warrant for an incident that happened back in November, but deputies say they couldn’t serve the paperwork until Wednesday.

The 10 year old is charged with a third-degree felony battery on a school employee, but Haygood said her son acted out because he didn’t feel safe with that particular employee, “It was because of his autism that spurred this incident. And he was arrested for that.”

Haygood said things need to change. She admitted her son’s had several behavioral issues in the past. She said they’re related to his autism, but she believes law enforcement and school officials need to be better prepared to deal with special needs, “Unfortunately, instead of treating or accommodating, we arrest. Because we don’t know what else to do.”

Both the sheriff’s office and prosecutors say they did not know the child was on the autism spectrum. The state attorney’s office says they will take that into consideration when they decide how to proceed.

The school district would only say that they do not invite law enforcement to their campuses just to arrest someone.

10-year-old boy with autism arrested after kicking teacher in Florida

John Benjamin Haygood, a 10-year-old boy from Florida with autism, was arrested by police after he kicked a teacher at his elementary school. Haygood reportedly spent the night behind bars in juvenile jail before he was released to his mother the next day.

In a cellphone video taken by his mom Wednesday, you can see Haygood in handcuffs being taken away by officers with the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s office.

“Does he have the same rights as an adult?” his mother Luanne Haygood says in the video. She then advises the officers that her son has autism.

When police start to grab Haygood, he starts to cry and says, “I don’t want to be touched. I don’t want to be touched. I don’t want to be touched.”

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Haygood is accused of battery on a school employee, which is considered a felony in the United States. Police say Haygood hit, kicked and scratched the employee. The alleged incident happened last November, and Haygood has been suspended since, and asked to do his schooling from home.

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It was his first day back to school when he was arrested. He had returned for some “standard” testing.

“It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest,” Ken Kenworthy, superintendent of the Okeechobee County School District said in an email.

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Haygood’s mother told News Channel 5 that her son kicked the teacher because he didn’t feel safe. “It was because of his autism that spurred this incident. And he was arrested for that,” said Luanne.

She told the local news station that she admits her son is known to have a violent past, but she doesn’t think it justifies arresting a 10-year-old boy with a disability.

She wants the school district and law enforcement to be better equipped to handle students with special needs. Asked why the boy was arrested on the first day he was back at school to get testing, officials at the school district did not answer directly but said it was “unexpected” for them.

“The district is unable to provide specific information as to both current and past incidents regarding this or any other student due to educational laws and rules,” the school district said in an email statement.

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The sheriff’s office told Global News the reason the arrest happened several months after the incident is because the school employee decided to press charges. The employee had scratches and marks that were photo-documented. The request to pursue criminal charges was then sent for review and approval to the State Attorney’s office.

Once approved, the sheriff’s office said they moved forward with the arrest, which was on Haygood’s first day back at school.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.