Eleven-Year-Old Autistic Boy Arrested

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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Nancy Carter
Nancy Carter4 years ago

HI my grandson was just diag. with autism and is 14 we live in delaware and he goes to gauger middle school he was arrested in summer for fighting in school they gave him him level 2 probation now just today he has another warrant for about amonth ago someone threw a clemenine in cafertia at him and he threw back accdentally kid a girl so they toy arrested him for assault3 cause the girl said she was hurt i think its terrible my grandson said i didnt do nothing wrong i didnt mean to hit her it ws accident he has autism learning dist.and high anxiety an some one help now w have lawyer fees and he has more of recrd im sure other people want to now sue.where is school liab.

Christy N.
Christy N.6 years ago

I teach Autistic middle school students in Florida. I have 5 students in my class that get very violent at times. I am trained and certified and know ways to diffuse the situation most of the time. However, it is not okay for any student to intentionally hurt a person. I know that some of my kids hit when they are having "fits" but I also have kids who hit just to be mean. Having a disability should not be a free pass to act anyway you want to act. All children have to be taught some sort of self control. Kids with autism can learn right and wrong.

Sarah D.
Sarah D7 years ago

That is just ridiculous. And whoever voted 'yes' on that poll, how many autistic children have you dealt with?

jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

Staff is no longer trained to deal with any situation that falls outside of the norm. Police are now called in to handle what parents and school officials took care of years ago.

Lawrence E.
Lawrence H E7 years ago

Once again we have a situation of a special needs student not having the proper individual program because we keep cutting educational funding. The biggest lobbyist in education today is not the teachers' unions, but the parents of special needs students. In most of their advocacy they have acquired rights for their children that should have been given long ago. They have not however acquired the funding for these mandates. Instead they have put these costs into the general funds instead of the special needs pot. Govenment can then take funds away from the general population to meet these unfunded mandates without showing the decrease in funding for students who will at some point take over supporting special needs people after their parents have died. The ten to fifeteen percent of students take up 45-50% of the funding. The next time you see a district spending $13,000 per student know that half of that amount is spent on every student and the other half spent to meet the unfunded mandates that the courts and congress have imposed. If you really want to change this situation then change the funding to meet the needs of all students.

Jewels S.
Jewels S7 years ago

Our education system is in horrible shape except for a few gems. Very sad and he should not be arrested. He needs an special needs teacher.

Wendy C.
Wendy C.7 years ago

arresting an autistic child is unforgivable. in yk..we have a one on one educational assistants for every special needs child.
this autistic child will never be happy in this school. this incident he will not forget, and he will react again. change school with intelligent administrators.

Manuela C.
Manuela C7 years ago


Bennie S.
Bennie S7 years ago

Tough one. I don't think arrest is a solution. But I also don't think that people at the school should have to put up with physical violence from a child that is growing larger by the day. Physically violence is unacceptable as a social interaction, no matter what the cause.

Jennifer Martin
Jennifer M7 years ago

Those people are idiots. And I can't believe the cops actually arrested him!!