My son is 10 and in fourth grade. For nearly five years, he and his classmates have repeatedly been victimized by a child we believe to be autistic. His official diagnoses has never been shared with other parents. But I do have some experience with special education and autistic relative, and the child’s other behaviors seem to follow those of a child on the autism spectrum. He has had a one on one aide in school since Kindergarten, but not every moment, everywhere.
I have two children with multiple special needs of my own, (including ADHD and SPD), but neither is autistic. I want to be sympathetic because I understand what it’s like for your child to be singled out, but too many things have happened, and never with an apology or explanation of any kind.
There have been multiple altercations on the bus to and from school, horrible one-sided “fights” on the playground, in the halls, down the stairs, and off-site on play dates or club-related outings.
Besides verbal intimidation and harassment, kids have been thrown into walls, strangled, and bloodied. At least one has suffered broken bones. The children who do fight back are reprimanded, if not suspended if it happens on the bus or at school.
The school continues to support the rights of this child over the rights of the rest of the school to go to school peacefully, without risk of injury. My son has only been allowed by us to ride his own bus a handful of times over the past two years because nearly every time he is on the bus, there is an incident. The only way to truly protect my child is to deny him his rights to ride his bus because the other child’s parents refuse to drive their child, ever.
Recently, at an after-school activity, my son was bullied fairly severely. The event had lasted several minutes with a lot of physical contact, and my son could not free himself because he is much smaller than the other child and no one was around to hear/see what was happening. He was not seriously injured, but only because an adult discovered them just in time, at which point the bully took off.
The school does not seem to have any control over him anymore, even with an aide. He has run out of the building during the day multiple times. He has lashed out at multiple staff members. School officials say they are taking the matter seriously, but there have been so many altercations, so many injuries, and most of them occur with no provocation and no warning. They will not tell me what is being done this time, or for future incidents to ensure my child is safe, and that the other children and the staff are, as well.
We contacted our local police because this was the umpteenth time our son was the target, and this was the worst time, for our family. The police said they could do very little because of the child’s age (10) and lack of mental capacity.
I can only see this getting worse as this child gets older and bigger, but the district and the child’s parents are hiding behind the disability, never apologize to anyone, never enforcing the consequences that would occur for a non-disabled child as is the policy. They also don’t offer any proactive solutions, such as the parents attending after-school activities with the child, unless forced to, nor offering other parents any information on how to handle situations if they seem to get out of control.
Nobody knows what to do, to keep an even more serious accident from occurring, which based on the past five years, unfortunately, seems inevitable.
I tried to do an internet search of my question of what to do when an autistic child is the bully, but the search only offered answers to what to do when an autistic child is bullied. IT seems like there is nothing I can do to protect my own son, and I don’t see how that doesn’t constitute a violation of his civil rights.
When is it no longer appropriate to extend the regular public school to a child in order to protect the rights of all the other children, including those children like mine, who are also disabled?