There is pretty much no way this is going to go well for anyone and I’ll preface this post by saying the blame should probably be shared by everyone.
From the police standpoint:
-At the very least the Student needs to be talked to by police because the student did assault a staff member. Special Needs students are not exempt from assaulting people. Depending on the situation, the student should also be arrested.
-This is a ten year old child with autism. Even an arrest doesn’t need handcuffs and the parent being told they couldn’t be with the child in transport is just idiotic. The police did a terrible job managing the situation.
-Law Enforcement had to know that he was Special Needs since the video shows evidence from the mother expressing the condition.
From the school’s standpoint:
-I don’t know the exact situation or time of day but the child’s case carrier should be standing right there talking with law enforcement unless the kid was totally out of control. The kid was not totally out of control.
-Paraprofessionals are a mixed bag. I’ve had classes with paraprofessionals that have been excellent. They are motivated to help kids, advocates for the student’s needs, and a great bridge between that kid’s disability and the teacher’s relationship with the student. This is not always the case. I’ve also seen evidence that paraprofessionals are totally unprepared and disinterested in their job. Pay is usually fairly low and the qualifications to be a paraprofessional are pretty basic. Sometimes the paraprofessional ends up being babysat by the teacher who is also trying to teach a class and manage students with Special Needs.
-It seems like the school lost being the primary driver of the situation when the paraprofessional pressed charges. I don’t know how much the school sat down with the paraprofessional and talked with him/her about validity of a felony on a 10 year old with autism.
From the parents’ standpoint:
-Being a parent of a child with Special Needs is already challenging. This situation makes the parents feel really lonely in a world that should support them.
-While I understand the lawsuit angle, it will eventually become counter-productive. There are three subject groups right now in which it is insanely hard to find teachers; Math, Science, and Special Education. Special Education teachers are legally accountable for a child’s IEP and are most likely to be at risk for legal action.
-However the parents have a very legitimate issue here and the school is at the center of the problem. Something is going on in classes and something is being missed between school administration and law enforcement, and something is not being communicated by the school to the parents.
The biggest question is one that is hardly being addressed; why the six month gap? The autistic child is really going to have no idea what is going on when six months later he shows up to school and someone slaps handcuffs on him. It’s a total and complete recipe for disaster along with being right out of the book on what not to do with consequences for students with special needs.