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Mother Outraged By Footage Of Her Autistic Son Being Dragged Through School

Jo Grayson Facebook / Fayette County Public Schools

It takes trust for any parent to leave their child in someone else's care at a school, or a daycare.

But for the parents of a child with autism, there is even more cause for concern.

Many autistic children are nonverbal, and have trouble communicating what their day was like.

In fact, one mother from Lexington, Kentucky, only learned her son had been involved in a serious incident when she discovered the marks left on his body.

"I took off his shirt and I noticed all these marks on him."

Autistic student dragged
Thatcher, seen here with his father and his service dog, is autistic and nonverbal.Jo Grayson - Facebook

Last month, author Jo Grayson received a text message from one of her son's teachers.

It explained that Thatcher, 11, who has autism and is nonverbal, had not been following her directions.

"The nurse and I had to physically help him get up off the gym floor," she wrote. "He wouldn't move and other kids were trying to play. I apologize if he has marks on him."

Grayson thought it sounded out of character for her son, but didn't think much of it until later that night.

"I was helping him dress because he needs a lot of help and I took off his shirt and I noticed all these marks on him," she revealed to ABC News.

Autistic Student Dragged
Grayson says Thatcher's teachers blamed his "sensitive skin" for the marks.Jo Grayson - Facebook

The "marks" the teacher had mentioned turned out to be cuts and bruises. When she asked about them, Grayson said the teacher blamed Thatcher's "sensitive skin" for the marks.

But Grayson kept digging, and eventually learned exactly what had happened to Thatcher at school.

Child Protective Services examined CCTV footage from Tates Creek Middle School, and found video evidence of Thatcher being dragged through the school by a teacher and a nurse.

Grayson says her son is obviously screaming in the video, where he is dragged across hard floors and even up a short flight of stairs, all while his service dog follows close behind.

"I was initially told that he was having a meltdown," Grayson said, "but the truth is, he wasn’t having a meltdown."

One Employee Already Fired

After video of Thatcher being dragged garnered huge backlash, officials from Fayette County Public Schools have taken action.

Dragged Autistic Student
The school district has fired one of the women in the video.Fayette County Public Schools

While they say the incident began when Thatcher refused to stand up in class, officials admit staff did not follow the correct procedures to transport or restrain a student.

Despite calling this an "isolated" event, another teacher from the same district was caught on tape dragging a nonverbal six-year-old with special needs in 2015.

Still, Fayette County says they have "no tolerance" for such behavior.

"Our training is very explicit that physical restraint is a last resort only to be used when a student is a danger to themselves or others," they said in a statement.

Autistic Student Dragged
The nurse seen in the upsetting video has been put on administrative leave.Fayette County Public Schools

"The training also shows employees the proper ways to hold or transport students. In this case, neither of those standards were met."

The school district also says the teacher in the video is no longer an employee. The nurse in the video has been put on paid administrative leave, according to a spokesman for the Lexington Fayette County Health Department.

"He’ll remember this for the rest of his life. Autism or not autism, any kid would remember that."

Grayson, who has recorded similar incidents involving Fayette County schools on her blog, says she feels "terrible."

Autistic Student Dragged
Grayson says she plans to sue the school board, and has handed video evidence over to the district attorney.Jo Grayson - Facebook

"I mean, I don’t understand how anybody could do that to any child, regardless of whether or not they have a disability," she said.

"He’ll remember this for the rest of his life. Autism or not autism, any kid would remember that."

Grayson says she has contacted a lawyer and plans to sue the school, saying employees need to be better trained. She has also filed a report with her county's district attorney.

"I feel that had she had better training and know what to do in such a situation as that then the situation might not have happened at all," she said.

[H/T: ABC News, CNN, Lexington Herald Ledger]

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