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Momma, Is That You?

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Momma, Is That You?

Autistic studentYou live in Kentucky and your little boy is nine years-old. He’s an autistic student. He attends school in the Mercer County school system.

Mercer County schools Interim Superintendent Dennis Davis, who cannot speak directly of the little boy, states, “The employees of the Mercer County Public Schools are qualified professionals who treat students with respect and dignity while providing a safe and nurturing learning environment.” Remember this.

Autistic Student Suffers Meltdown

The day had barely begun when his family was called to the school because Chris was acting up. He is enrolled in a program for students with special needs.

Walking toward his classroom, Baker’s mother saw the gym bag. There was a small hole at the top, she said, and she heard a familiar voice.

“Momma, is that you?” Chris said, according to his mother.

A teacher’s aide was there, and Baker demanded that her son be released. At first, the aide struggled to undo the drawstring, but the boy was pulled out of the bag, which had some small balls inside and resembled a green Army duffel bag, Baker said.

“When I got him out of the bag, his poor little eyes were as big as half dollars and he was sweating,” Baker said. “I tried to talk to him and get his side of the reason they put him in there, and he said it was because he wouldn’t do his work…”

…At a meeting with school district officials, the bag was described as a “therapy bag,” Baker said, though she wasn’t clear exactly what that meant. She said her son would sometimes be asked to roll over a bag filled with balls as a form of therapy, but she didn’t know her son was being placed in the bag. She said school officials told her it was not the first time they had put him in the bag.

Autistic Student Advocates React

So far, almost 700 people have signed a petition on the website change.org. Lydia Brown, an autistic 18-year-old Georgetown University freshman from Boston, said she started it after reading a story about Chris.

“That would not be wrong just for an autistic student. That would be wrong to do to anyone,” Brown said.

Advocates for the autistic were outraged.

Landon Bryce of San Jose, Calif., a former teacher who blogs about issues related to autism, said the school’s treatment of Chris was “careless and disrespectful.”

“A lot of the damage that we do to students with all kinds of disabilities is by treating them as though they deserve to be treated in a way that’s different from other people,” Bryce said.

The state’s Department of Education website indicates that Kentucky has no laws regarding restraining or secluding children in its public schools.

See also “Schooling Causes Psychic Damage Lasting Into Adulthood

There have been similar incidents this year. In one, a restrained child almost suffocated. In another, the child spent most of the school year in a closet with no ventilation or light. The student vomited from panic attacks.

The Christmas holiday continues. It’s a mighty fine time to bring your autistic student  – or non-autistic student – child home to learn.

 

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2 Responses to “Momma, Is That You?”

  1. Mother Mary says:

    I caught Mama on CNN earlier and when they asked if she’d be sending him back to school she replied that, no, she’d probably be homeschooling him from now on.

    Not the way we want to find new homeschoolers, but she is more than welcome. If you’re reading this, Mama, how can we help?

    • Such wonderful news – thanks for letting us know, Mother Mary! And, yes, Mama, we hope you’re reading because that’s what we do – help! Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling!!

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