OKEECHOBEE, Fla. (AP/KDKA) – The arrest of a 10-year-old autistic Florida boy was filmed by his mother who complained that he was treated far too harshly by authorities.
Luanne Haygood told multiple news outlets that her son was arrested April 12 at his school in Okeechobee, Florida, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of West Palm Beach. The arrest stemmed from an October incident last fall in which the boy was accused of kicking and scratching an educational assistant, a felony.
The video Haygood shot shows an emotional encounter in which the boy repeats that he doesn’t like to be touched as an officer puts handcuffs on him.
The boy spent the night in a juvenile facility.
“I was extremely angry,” Haygood told CBS Miami last week. “I felt like this was a power play. I felt like this was a this is what you get. You can’t do anything about it. We’re going to arrest your son if he can’t abide by the rules,” she said.
The officers said they weren’t aware of his autism, even though the video shows Haygood told them during the arrest.
The Okeechobee County school district issued a statement to WPEC:
It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest.
The district routinely assists students by providing services from our board certified behavioral analyst, licensed mental health counselors, school social workers, and psychologists. As a team, these individuals develop interventions, conduct assessments, and offer support both at school and in the home in order to assist students and families.
The district is unable to provide specific information as to both current and past incidents regarding this or any other student due to educational laws and rules. It is our hope that we can continue to work with all families to help their students improve both behaviorally and academically.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)