Parents and special interest groups are outraged after police arrested a 10-year-old autistic boy at his school.
Luanne Haygood, the boy's mother, said she and her son had been called into the school to complete a standardized test. However, once they arrived they were met by police officers who placed John Benjamin under arrest.
An arrest warrant had been issued for Benjamin in October, stemming from charges made by his educational assistant. Benjamin was accused of punching, kicking and scratching the assistant back in October.
Haygood was never made aware of the incident or the fact an arrest warrant was out for her son.
When police began arresting her son Haygood started filming. She posted the video online and the reaction was instantaneous.
@washingtonpost Disturbing.... why has brutalizing children become OK. Feeling sickened— Freddi Smith (@FreddiSmith1) April 20, 2017
"I don't know what's going on, Mama!" he screamed as police surrounded him. "I don't understand!"
Haygood tried to explain that her son has autism and that he needed special treatment - she was ignored.
"I don't like to be touched, please don't touch me," you can hear Benjamin say as police grab his arms and place him in cuffs.
People with autism frequently have an aversion to being touched and social crowding or touching can result in panic attacks or outbursts.
Haygood asked to ride in the patrol car with her son, but was refused. Benjamin was taken to the county jail, where he spent the night.
The Autism Society of America has been in contact with Haygood and is providing advice and legal counsel. They are considering action against the school and police force.
"It appears the school's responses are beyond wrong and evil," said Scott Badesch, Autism Society of America president.
The arrest stems from an incident in late October. Court documents show that Benjamin was being disruptive "throwing paper balls around the classroom". The educational assistant sent Benjamin to time out, but he refused to go. The educator tried to forcibly move Benjamin to the corner used for time out, at which point the boy kicked and punched.
According to the documents, the assistant physically restrained the student by wrapping his arms around the upper chest. It's a maneuver used to restrain children as it immobilizes the arms, but does not interfere with breathing.
Why Haygood was never told of the arrest warrant, or why it took so long to execute was not immediately known.
Did the school act correctly? Or is this another insensitive response that does more harm than good? Let us know!