What’s wrong with this picture?
Evelyn Towry was told she couldn’t wear her special jacket in class last week, prompting the little girl (whose diagnosis of Asperger’s falls on the autism spectrum) to become resistent and act out in the classroom. But instead of telling the child she could just wear her jacket, school officials said they called the cops, alleging she assaulted school staff during the incident.
She’s eight. And autistic.
Shouldn’t school officials, of all people, understand that?
While Asperger’s syndrome falls on the milder end of the autism spectrum, its symptoms are akin to what many people identify with autism – a need for structure, difficulty identifying and expressing feelings. It’s also classified as a disability, allowing children who have been diagnosed to qualify for special services from their local school district, including special consideration for their special needs.
So why should a jacket on a child with Asperger’s syndrome become an issue? Even if this child were to have become violent, the details of the case would indicate that school officials set this child – who they knew had a difficulty expressing feelings – off. They caused the problem. That would seem a direct violation of civil rights section 504, which protects kids in schools from discrimination for their developmental disabilities.
Should autistic child bear some responsibility for their actions? By calling the cops and pressing battery charges, that’s what the school district was suggesting – that Evelyn Towry was responsible for battery. But who’s to blame? Should a school district be held liable for the action that caused the equal and opposite reaction?
Image: salem news