Police arrived on scene April 12 at Okeechobee Achievement Academy in Florida to arrest a 10-year-old boy with autism on felony battery charges (video below).
The child, John Haygood, was expelled from the academy in October 2016 after attacking his teacher, according to CNN. An incident report from the Okeechobee Sheriff’s Office says that John was disruptive in class, throwing paper balls and hitting his fellow students. When John’s teacher asked him to take a time-out, he refused and began punching and kicking his teacher, who was reportedly left with scratches and bruises.
John’s mother, Luanne, has been homeschooling her son since the incident.
When John returned to school on April 12 to complete a standardized test, officers placed him in handcuffs.
“I didn’t know I was going to get arrested like this,” he yelled while officers led him to the back of a cruiser, WaPo reports. “I don’t want to be touched. Please don’t touch me.”
Luanne filmed the arrest and posted the video online, where it has since gone viral.
“It appears the school’s responses are beyond wrong and evil,” said Scott Badesch, president of the Autism Society of America. “It is a tremendous failure by two allegedly responsible institutions — the police and the school.”
Badesch will be providing the Haygoods with legal counsel and will also consider asking the Department of Education to investigate.
Luanne says that she was aware of the October incident but had no idea that his teacher had pressed charges or that there was a warrant for her son’s arrest.
“I know what happened six months ago,” she said, reports CNN. “[But I had] never seen an arrest report, I never saw the charges I just know … that he may or may not press charges.”
The school district released a statement about the day the warrant was served.
It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest. The district routinely assists students by providing services from our board certified behavioral analyst, licensed mental health counselors, school social workers, and psychologists.
The statement went on to say that the district was unable to comment on any specifics at this time since the case is ongoing.
John was transported to a juvenile detention center, where he reportedly stayed over night.
Washington Post reports that John will appear in court for his arraignment on May 11.
CNN, The Washington Post