A video posted by a Florida mother shows her 10-year-old son with autism handcuffed and arrested while at school, CBS News reported.
“I was extremely angry,” Luanne Haygood, his mother, said to CBS Miami. “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.”
The boy, John Benjamin Haygood, was arrested April 12 for felony battery against a school board authority. His mother said he kicked a paraprofessional in December of last year, leaving the teacher with scratches and other marks.
“He didn’t feel good with a paraprofessional. He told me that and I told him you got to go back to school. He said, ‘I don’t want to go back to school. I don’t like him. I don’t like him. He hurts me,’” Haygood said.
John was reportedly expelled from school, but then arrested when he had to go back into the school for state testing and a staff member recognized him from the assault. The boy spent the night in a juvenile detention center.
Haygood said her boy’s autism is responsible for his behavior, and that the school has not provided adequate care for her son. In the video, he can be heard asking officers not to touch him; not wanting to be touched is often a symptom of autism.
“Unfortunately, instead of treating or accommodating we arrest because we don’t know what else to do,” Haygood said to the Miami Herald.
The sheriff’s office and prosecutors told WWLP that they weren’t aware the 10-year-old had autism, and the state’s attorney said it will be taken into consideration as they look at the case.