It happened on Tuesday, September 28. Eleven-year-old Terrauce Jones, a student at Merritt Brown Middle School in Bayou George, Florida, was arrested when he allegedly assaulted two school administrators while being questioned. He was charged with two felony counts of assault on a school official.
Arrest An Autistic Child?
Was that really the best way to deal with an autistic child? Terrauce was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old, according to his grandmother, Francis Green. Apparently the autism has been controlled by medication and careful supervision, but Green admitted that it has been a challenge.
“We’ve struggled with him fitting in, trying to find the right school, trying to find the right teacher to deal with his temper tantrums or meltdowns,” said Green, who takes care of the child while his mother, a nurse, is at work.
School Officials’ Response To Temper Tantrums
So what exactly happened? The boy was in Assistant Principal Harold Weaver’s office discussing a claim that he had hit another student, when he became agitated and allegedly swung a binder at Weaver. He left Weaver’s office and ran into Principal Charlotte Marshall, allegedly tried to kick her, but missed.
Marshall stated that Terrauce seemed calm enough after about half an hour to have lunch, but he became agitated again in the cafeteria, and threw his drink and bottle at her, hitting her in the chest.
Clearly, Terrauce’s behavior was unacceptable, but it could also be attributed to his condition. School administrators knew all about the boy’s autism. Why was he not isolated from other students, until a parent or guardian could come to school to pick him up?
Not A Threat To Other Students
Dealing with an autistic middle-schooler should not involve arresting him. Terraunce was not carrying a weapon, nor was he running around the school, threatening to harm people. He did have a violent outburst towards two school administrators, in their office and the cafeteria, and needed to be disciplined. But school officials, not the police, should have been the disciplinarians.
No word yet on whether he will be formally charged.
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