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Dec. 17th, 2011

TN: Autistic boy partially blinded by school bully wins large settlement from school district

Jacob Gentry, who is Aspergers-type autistic, was bullied for years at White House Heritage School in White House, TN.

Gentry, now 19, recalls: "They would shove me into lockers. They would take my backpack and run through the school with it and stuff."

Gentry's mom, Misty Phillips, says she spoke with school administrators on many occasions about her son's being bullied.  She says school staff did nothing to help.

In 2006, when Gentry was in 7th grade, his teacher left the classroom unattended.  Another boy, W.K., hit Gentry in the face with a textbook, blinding Gentry in one eye.  

Gentry is now legally blind.  His medical bills from the attack were over $92,000.

Phillips sued the Robertson County school district for failing to protect her son.  This week, the family was awarded a $300,000 settlement.

W.K. was convicted of aggravated assault, and given community service as punishment.  When he turned 18, his juvenile record was expunged.

Info source:
http://www.newschannel5.com/story/16343622/school-system-must-pay-for-bullying-victims-medical-costs
(warning: ableist language)

Australia: Mall Santa made fun of autistic kids, mom says

A Queensland woman says a mall Santa mocked her autistic sons and threatened them with jail.

Tammy Sleeth took her sons, 7-year-old Liam and 6-year-old Cameron, to see Santa at Sheiler Park's Logan Hyperdome shopping center on Dec. 15. Cameron was wearing a shirt that said: "Think before you judge, I have autism."

Sleeth says the Santa looked at Cameron, who was dancing around in excitement, and said, "has he had his medication today?"

When the boys started telling the Santa what they wanted for Christmas, Sleeth says Santa interrupted them with "What about a jail cell? Do you want a jail cell?"

Sleeth told mall management what happened. Management says the Santa no longer works there, and they're investigating the incident. They also sent the Sleeths a package of toys.

Info source:
http://www.news.com.au/national/bad-santa-taunts-family/story-e6frkvr-1226224512408
Tags:

Dec. 12th, 2011

CO: Woman who killed "autistic" son is insane, shouldn't get jury trial, lawyers say

A Colorado woman who confessed to killing her infant son because she thought he was autistic should get a hearing to determine if she was legally insane when he died, her lawyers say.

Stephanie Rochester is accused of killing 6-month-old Rylan in June 2010. The county DA has said he doesn't think it's provable that Rochester was legally sane at the time.

Rochester's defense will, instead, ask for a hearing before a judge to determine if Rochester is not guilty by reason of insanity. If Rochester is found to have been insane at Rylan's death, she will go to a state mental hospital.

Rochester has already been declared insane by two psychiatrists who evaluated her after her arrest.

She confessed to killing Rylan by smothering him with blankets and a plastic bag. She told police that she believed Rylan was autistic, which she said would "emotionally and financially ruin" her life.

Rochester had also wanted to kill herself, but said she didn't want to "burden" her husband with supposedly autistic Rylan.

Rochester had worked as a counselor in the past, including work with autistic children.

Info source:
http://thautcast.com/drupal5/content/no-charges-against-woman-who-murdered-six-month-old-son-she-thought-had-autism

Dec. 2nd, 2011

SC: Teacher's aide suspended for allegedly attacking autistic girl

A teacher's aide in North Myrtle Beach, SC, has been suspended after allegedly physically abusing an autistic student.

Two teachers at North Myrtle Beach High School reported the aide to the principal after they say they saw the aide attack 15-year-old Aubrey McCabe. They say they saw the aide grabbing, pushing, and hitting Aubrey, leaving a red mark on her arm.

Aubrey has limited speech skills. Her mom says Aubrey had been telling her, "No school mommy. Is hurt," in the weeks before the aide was reported.

The school district has put the aide on leave while it investigates the situation. The school contacted the police, who investigated, but did not charge the aide with a crime.

Info source:
http://www.carolinalive.com/news/story/aspx?id=689754#

UK: Special-needs child denied school placement for half a term and counting

Kieran Lewis's family moved to St Ives, Cornwall, in September. He has hypermobility syndrome, dyspraxia, and possibly Aspergers-type autism.

Kieran, 9, was originally given a spot at St Ives Junior School. his mom says that the school then told her that admitting Kieran "would put more strain on other children and staff."

Kieran's mom says his special ed needs are minimal. She says St Ives staff said he should enroll at another school, Nancledra.

Kieran's family went to County Hall, which handles area school admissions, and tried to enroll him at Nancledra. County Hall said he could start there in a week, but half a school term later, he still has not been enrolled.

Kieran's mom says that, after "pestering" County Hall, she was finally told that Nancledra was already one student over their quota and couldn't take any more. She says County Hall has told her they will try to order St ives to admit Kieran.

County Hall won't comment on specific student cases.

Info source:
http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/son-s-left-education-West-Cornwall-story-13940616-detail/story.html

OR: Autistic boy with sleep disorder allegedly made to mow school lawn as punishment

An Aspergers-type autistic boy says he has been repeatedly made to mow the school lawn as punishment for falling asleep in class.

Kyron Sloan, 11, also has ADD and a sleep disorder. He and his mom say the guidance counselor at Alice Ott Middle School, Portland, made Sloan mow the school lawn with a push mower on many occasions. Sloan says it was punishment for falling asleep in class. His mom says the school never contacted her about the mowing.

Sloan has allergies, which he says were aggravated by the mowing.

The school is aware of Sloan's diagnoses, and he has an IEP special ed plan.

The school district won't comment because the allegations are still being investigated.

Info source:
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Ore-6th-grader-says-he-was-forced-to-mow-school-lawn-134334028.html

Nov. 4th, 2011

MA: Ex-JRC Worker Speaks Out, Says He Witnessed Abuse

Greg Miller worked for the Judge Rotenberg Center, a Massachusetts residential school for autistic children, from 2003-2006. In a recent letter to the editor at an area paper, Miller says he witnessed staff abusing students with electic shocks and other physical and emotional assault.

Miller alleges that JRC staff used electric shock devices on students, sometimes as often as 30 times a day, leaving sores and burns. He says students were shocked for "offenses" such as closing their eyes in class, attempting to hold a staff member's hand, picking loose threads, and asking to use the bathroom during class.

One blind, nonverbal autistic girl was shocked for moaning in an attempt to communicate, Miller says. He also says students sometimes soiled themselves because staff wouldn't let them use the bathroom.

Miller says that, after an incident when a student swallowed a small X-Acto knife blade, the student was repeatedly punished by staff tying him to a chair and poking him with a plastic knife, while shouting at him.

Info source:
http://canton.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-a-former-judge-rotenberg-center-worker-speaks-out

Oct. 10th, 2011

VA: Dad sues school district over autistic son's abuse by personnel

A Bedford man is suing the Bedford County School District after two of its employees were convicted of assaulting his autistic son.

Bus driver Alice Holland and special ed aide Mary Evans were convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2009, for repeatedly attacking 11-year-old Timothy Kilpatrick.

Bus surveillance video from September 2009 recorded Holland and Evans hitting, kicking, and choking Timothy, and beating him with a flyswatter, while he was strapped to his bus seat.

Holland and Evans both got 12-month sentences. However, Holland only had to serve one month, and Evans only had to serve two months.

Holland claims Timothy was disruptive - "spitting, kicking, hitting, and squealing" - and that she repoted this to his school. She also says she told Evans not to hit Timothy.

Timothy's father, Thomas Kilpatrick, first reported concerns to the school district in late 2008. Timothy had been coming home with unexplained injuries, and had developed a fear of riding the bus. Since he is nonverbal, he couldn't tell his dad anything specific about what had happened.

Kilpatrick is suing the school district, Holland, Evans, and Sara Staton, the district's Director of Special Services.

Timothy now attends a different school. His dad transports him.

Info source:
http://www2.wsls.com/news/2011/oct/05/lawsuit-claims-bedford-student-abused-bus-ar-1362269/
(WARNING: link contains graphic video of abuse)

TX: Mon removes autistic son from school, alleging seclusion abuse

A San Antonio woman has removed her autistic son from school after she says she discovered he was being isolated for no reason.

Tonya Wells has pictures of her 6-year-old son, Dmitri, isolated in a bare room at Langley Elementary School. In the pictures, Dmitri is against a wall or on the floor. An aide is near him. Wells says her son was put in isolation for no reason.

Wells is currently homeschooling Dmitri. She's gotten a notice from the school district about his absence, but says she won't send him back until staff there get better training on how to work with autistic students. She has hired a lawyer.

The district says they believe the school followed correct procedures.

Info source:
http://www.woai.com/news/local/story/School-puts-autistic-child-in-isolation/

Oct. 6th, 2011

TX: Police called on autistic man for "acting odd" in store

An autistic and schizophrenic Dallas man was arrested for trespassing at a store after customers said he was "acting odd".

Blake Wimberly, 28, used to work at the Whole Foods Market. When he visited there in April, customers complained to staff about his actions. According to Whole Foods, Wimberly was running in the store. Store staff called police.

When the police arrived, they allegedly found Wimberly in an "Employees Only" area. Police said he was trepasssing. Wimberly explained that he was autistic, showed them a medical alert bracelet, and asked to call his mother.

Wimberly says an officer called him a "liar" regarding the autism information.

Dallas police have the option to give non-violent trespassers citations instead of arresting them, but the police in this situation arrested Wimberly instead. When they called his mother, she did not hear the phone; apparently, no one tried to contact her again. She called the police department back, but was not able to reach anyone there for 12 hours.

Wimberly and his family plan to sue the police department over his treatment.

Info sources:
http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/10/03/autistic-mans-acting-odd-lands-him-in-jail/
http://www.autismkey.com/another-police-encounter-with-autism-goes-south/
(note: this site may be "curebie")

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