By Kim Stagliano
Why would an elementary school Principal call the police to intervene in the case of a special needs 11 year old boy who was having behavior problems in school? Why would the police then charge the boy with second degree battery? (See the arrest report, HERE.) Reading, writing and arresting?
I have been in contact with the grandmother of Zakhery Price, of Fort Smith Arkansas. She explains that Zakhery has a host of diagnoses and that schooling him has been fraught with difficulty for some time. She, his mother and step-father are trying to ensure that the child receives a proper education. We, as parents of children on the spectrum, know all too well that sometimes families and schools are at loggerheads.
Schools districts are groaning under the weight of an influx of students with myriad diagnoses, inlcuding autism, bi-polar disorder, reactive detachment disorder and other often severe mental health issues. It's still difficult to understand how a Principal could call the police on an eleven year old child unless the child was brandishing a weapon, which Zakh was not. We live in a time when our children are subject to restraint and seclusion at an alarming rate. Teachers, adminstrators, paraprofessionals are often poorly trained and ill prepared to work with special needs children. And yes, some students cases are simply too severely affected for a public school to handle. In such cases, the school must work with the family to find an appropriate placement.
We're sharing Zakh Price's case with you, our readers, to continue to sound the alarm that epidemic of children with an alphabet soup of diagnoses is real. When Zakh Price is 21, how will he be treated? And doesn't he deserve better treatment right now?
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism and mother of three daughters with autism. Her Kimoir, All I Can Handle. I'm No Mother Teresa debuts this Fall.