Florida Mom Blasts School For Arresting, Handcuffing Her 10-Year-Old Child With Autism [VIDEO]

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 15, 09:20 pm
Luanne Haygood said the school mistreated her son with autism, John Benji, 10, following his arrest and handcuffing.
(Photo : John Moore/Getty Images)

A mom from Florida blasted her son's school for his arrest and handcuffing. Her 10-year-old child has autism but he figured in an incident six months ago when he punched and scratched a teacher.

Mom Luanne Haygood said Okeechobee County School Resource wasn't equipped to handle children with special needs. She was able to video his son, John Benji Haygood, being handcuffed on her mobile phone. She was hoping to expose the authorities' treatment of her boy.

John Benji spent a night at a Florida juvenile facility. His mother said the arrest scared the boy who couldn't understand what was going on, WPEC Florida reported.

The sheriff's office, through Okeechobee County School, served John Benji a warrant of arrest for third-degree felony battery following his altercation with a teacher last November, as per WWLP. Since the incident, the Haygoods homeschooled their son but he had to go back to school that Wednesday for a mandatory test.

Luanne admitted John Benji did have behavioral issues but indicated these were related to autism. The sheriff's office said they were not aware the child has a disorder and law enforcement lawyers said they will take into consideration the mom's revelation in handling the case. They placed the 10-year-old boy under house arrest.

The altercation between John Benji and his teacher also stemmed from his autism, according to Luanne. The boy apparently didn't like how his teacher handled him and this triggered something in him, so he physically attacked the teacher.

"It's nationwide, and these children are not getting the services they are guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," Luanne said. "Now, maybe somebody will believe me and other parents when we say our kids are being mistreated."

The school, meanwhile, released a statement citing it won't be able to comment on the case per se based on education laws. The statement read, however, that the school provided routine assistance from behaviorists and other mental health professionals for its students. The school denied they invited the 10-year-old boy to take a test just so they could arrest him.

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