Police handcuffed and dragged a seven-year-old boy, with autism, out of Hirsch Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas on Sept. 16.
The boy’s mother, Maria Herrera Arias, told WOAI that her son has been diagnosed with autism and a mood disorder since age 5, and he had an outburst in class over a disagreement about a computer program:
They’re treating him like a criminal, and he’s not. This is a 7-year-old kid. Maybe something that’s not a big deal to everyone else, is a big deal to him.
He doesn’t understand how to calm himself down from that. No kid should have to be put in handcuffs. Let alone, a kid that has mental illnesses or disabilities.
Arias said the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) tried calling her and the boy’s father, but misdialed. The boy’s eventually received the message form the school, and when he arrived he filmed the school district police alongside the young boy in handcuffs.
In response to the cell phone video, SAISD spokesperson Leslie Price released a statement:
There are times when children are in crisis, hurting themselves, and need emergency detention – and handcuffing is part of the process, to keep the child safe. When this happens, they are taken to a hospital for medical attention.
Arias objected to that non-logic by noting the police, not medical personnel, took the boy into custody:
This is a trip that could have been avoided. He didn’t have to sit in back of a patrol car, handcuffed like a criminal. There should be more resources within the school that say, hey, there’s someone on campuses that deals with children specifically with autism.