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A Tough Moment For Mom: 8-Year-Old with Autism in Handcuffs

A Tough Moment For Mom: 8-Year-Old with Autism in Handcuffs

A young boy with autism experienced an outburst on his bus ride home from school, and ended up in the school office with school security and two police officers, and in handcuffs. His distraught mother shared, "That was something I was just not prepared to see, my 8-year-old son in handcuffs."  To make matters worse, the police would not let her transport her son to the Children's Hospital, so she had to follow the patrol car. 

Read the whole story.  

How should this situation have been handled?  

Image Source: Jeffrey Beall via Flickr/Creative Commons

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CoMMember13631168226529 CoMMember13631168226529 5 years
Was the child a danger to himself or to others? The article never says. The police have no way of knowing that a child is autistic, obviously the routine was not followed on the school bus or this may never have happened.
HollyVick HollyVick 5 years
I work with special needs kids, and there WAS one day that we had a very outraged child of around 10 that threw a horrific fit for over an hour...the cops DID take him out in cuffs. He was a danger to himself and others. It is sad.
SandraBlackie SandraBlackie 5 years
This is a typical example of plain ignorance. My son is Autistic and I registered him with medical alert. He has a bracelet that has basic info on, but ALL his info is registered with medical alert. It is sad and alarming that public servants are not trained to recognise an extra ordinary situation and how to deal with it appropriately. Would they have handled a disabled person the same?
AmandaGonzales39695 AmandaGonzales39695 5 years
The police didn't do anything wrong. Yall are correct he is Autistic and he doesn't understand what he was/is doing is wrong. The bad handling took place well before the police got involved however their job is to protect this little boy from hurting himself or anyone else including his mom. Some autistic kids can be reasoned with and calmed down after an outburst however some can not and autistic kids are very strong for their size, Even being 8 years old he might be strong enough to do some real damage because these kids do not know their own strength or how to control that strength.
DoraLoCascioWiggs DoraLoCascioWiggs 5 years
That poor little boy. I have worked with kids with autism. I can understand restraining him until his parents arrived but then they should have immediately released him to his parents. What a disgusting display of authority.
chrissylindsley chrissylindsley 5 years
what a terible way to hanle a child with special needs - ys we have to protect other children but this is going overboard . Children with autism are slower at moving from the emotional state to a thinking normaly state but wth good teaching techniques this can be taught over a period of time Here in Head Start even our bus monitors are taught how to us effegtive means to enhance the movement from emotion to rational thought
VanessaWiles VanessaWiles 5 years
What ppl dont' understand is yes he is autistic, but either way if he is putting other ppl or children in danger then they had to do something about it.. Everyone just looks at one side of it.. Autistic or not you can't put other children at risk.. Think if your child was injured during this and they didnt' act like this... Then there would be a bunch of ppl mad about them not doing anything to the boy and allowing him to injure other children.. No I dont' think they needed to put the handcuffs behind his back, but I do think they did the right thing by restraining him.. You can't just allow this to happen.. That' s how ppl are in the U.S now.. sue, sue sue,, they did this wrong or this.. everyone want's pity on them. Do you think those cops enjoy to have to do this to an 8 yr old.. I am sure they don't but once again.. Someone has to be the bad guy so why not the police..
LouiseHofferber LouiseHofferber 5 years
I am so sorry for you and your Son. It must have been awful for him. I have experience with autistic children so I know how traumatic any negative experience is for them. Ignorance is a horrible thing.Policemen,security, and school employee's should take a class on how to treat everyone with care. And show a little compassion (or common sense) for people with special needs. Hope they all learned from this boys experience.
CoMMember13630562149566 CoMMember13630562149566 5 years
I don't condone violence, but honestly... someone outta beat the crap out of those cops!
JessicaWhitman44421 JessicaWhitman44421 5 years
This is sad he has Autism.
Sarah3850 Sarah3850 5 years
Unnexceptable! He is 8 and AUTISTIC not a child who understands what he is doing is wrong!! Its a medical issue not a choice!!! I am so disgusted and this is why ill never visit the USA EVER I have 3 Autistic children and it terrifies me what would happen to them if we visit there :'(
DeborahCallahan DeborahCallahan 5 years
I don't understand how the school (assumably the principal) didn't handle this better - don't they have sufficient training to deal with issues like this in a caring manner? Handcuffs, a really great experience for an autistic kid. Sounds like bullying behaviour to me.
bonnieadams83184 bonnieadams83184 5 years
that is a illness not a crime should of let mother handle it what a shame my grandson has sms i coulnt imagine where is the under standing
JamieBrookens JamieBrookens 5 years
Im sure there was a much better way they could have handled that. There is no reason to put an 8 year old in handcuffs, Autistic or not its just a little kid
MelissaCreason MelissaCreason 5 years
As a mother of a child with special needs myself, I am beside myself with anger. I have dealt with ignorant people so much over the years, but this is crazy!! No way should the school, the bus driver or the police have handled this situation the way they did!! I would be getting a lawyer and suing these people!!!
SirenaCampbell SirenaCampbell 5 years
This is horrible I don't care what the special needs of the child are no 8 year old child should be handcuffed I have been on school buses I have been harassed on school buses the child that had the outburst has special needs that were known to the bus driver and the school officials that little boy doesn't know any other way to get his anger out and I am sure some one hurt his feelings even if he can't express them feelings verbally he has them the police and everyone else involved should feel very ashamed of themselves
JenniferAletras JenniferAletras 5 years
I hope those cops are proud of themselves for handcuffing a child with autism and not allowing his mother to take him to the hospital. Those cops should be ashamed of them and make a public apology to the family. First of all did the school or any other adults try and calm the child, what provoked the child to have an outburst, and how was the situation handled from the bus back to the school? If the child was on his way home why didn't the matron phone the mother and the child be dropped off at home. I am sure that his mother is probably well prepared for these situations and could have easily taken control. Did the cops even stop to consider how frightening handcuffs on a small child could be? Again I say shame on all those who had a hand in this situation.
KaneRizzaTilbrook KaneRizzaTilbrook 5 years
cops think they have to much power the mum should have taken the kid to the hosiptral
TrishaTaylor44231 TrishaTaylor44231 5 years
I think this is a little overboard. Come on guys, it's an 8 yr old with Autism that had an outburst on a school bus... not a town drunk on one of his rants down the street. I'm thinking that the handcuffs where probably a bit much and after he was reunited with his mother, she should've been able to transport her son to the hospital. That's just my opinion though.
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