Eight Year Old Girl Arrested, Shackled for Tantrum at School 


In yet another horror story of schools and police criminalizing autism, an eight year old girl at Lovejoy Elementary School in Alton, Ill., was jailed for over two hours by Alton police because of tantrum behavior. The youngster, who suffers from autism, anxiety disorder, and depression threw a fit at school and was screaming and kicking. Her uncle, who is also her guardian was called to the scene and was en route to the school, but before he could arrive, administrators called 911. The child was handcuffed, and shackled at the waist and feet. Her uncle maintained she asked to use the bathroom at the police station but her requests were ignored. They gave her nothing to eat or drink and she was in custody for two hours. When she finally came home, her eyes were swollen from crying and there were welts around her wrists from the handcuffs.

The school district of Alton is nowhere to be found in the aftermath of this appalling episode. The police captain has come forward with a disturbingly adamant statement about the correctness of the police response. We need to have some way to intervene in these situations and demand that schools and police departments be educated in autism and the correct response to an child who is out of control.

"Managing Autism Meltdowns," a guide issued on Tony Attwood’s website should be mandatory reading from all police departments and schools.  

This madness must end. Our children’s emotional health and well-being, and personal freedom are at stake.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Moffitt
http://susanmoffitt.com

3 Responses to Eight Year Old Girl Arrested, Shackled for Tantrum at School 

  1. Miguel says:

    This is appalling! More funding for training the teachers & the Police are you kidding me! That’s a joke that the police were even called! These teachers should be ashamed of themselves! There’s a reason why she’s having theses attacks. Theses teachers are a joke & should be fired. Instead of hiring cuz theyre part of union maybe hire trained professionals in this field.
    Outside the school district! What a slap in the face for us parents! Disgusted is an understatement!

  2. Susan Moffitt says:

    Yes, it’s one of the worst cases to come to light yet…and as you say, with that kind of mentality, you know the girl is being provoked.

  3. Monica Mburu says:

    I am appalled by this incident. This is quite clearly a human rights abuse issue. An 8 year old child requires sympathetic handling. This school clearly is not fit to handle children with autism or, I would say, any child at all. How dare they call the police! Are they not supposed to be able to handle these children. They called the police on an 8 year old child. Just like Miguel above, this child must have felt very uncomfortable in this hostile environment. This is quite a horrendous thing for this little child to go through!

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  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
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