Severely Autistic Boy Handcuffed after School Allows him to Wander Off

Trevor Hibbert, a California father says he is planning legal action after his severely autistic son was found and handcuffed by police almost a mile away from his middle school.

These stories are in the news almost daily now. I’m not sure if that has to do with the rise of social media, news outlets looking for a good story, or if this sort of thing is new. But I can tell you as a mom, they terrify me.

And I can tell you as a blogger who shares these kind of stories, the responses are often polarizing. I promise you there will be comments blaming the child and blaming the father.

As parents we send our kids to school and we pray that they will be cared for. We know they can be challenging but we have to be able to trust the people who watch them.

In this latest story to go viral, Hibbert is criticizing officials from Endeavor Middle School after his 11-year-old child was able to leave the secure campus in Lancaster on Monday while suffering an emotional episode.

He released footage of the boy in the back of a police patrol car in clear distress.

The furious father had strong words for the Lancaster School District during a board meeting that took place yesterday evening, saying: “I’m calling you out. Our children deserve better.”

In a Facebook update this week, which included multiple images of the child after he was found by sheriff’s deputies, Hibbert said it was the third time in three weeks his son Abraham had been able to leave the school without being stopped by teachers or staff members.

To clarify this, Abraham was wandering, eloping, or whatever by himself. Can you imagine your child leaving school alone?

He noted it was a “gross failure” of the boy’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). “Thank God our sheriff’s department was there to clean up your mess, but the damage is done,” he wrote.

According to ABC7, the boy’s IEP states that he requires one-on-one help, but Hibbert claimed school administrators often replace that person with a non-trained faculty member.

The Facebook post says: “The damage you have done to my son and the years of progress that has been setback are irreparable. A lawsuit isn’t enough. You and your staff did this.”

He also said, “What if my son would have been hit by a car walking in the street alone?”

During the board meeting yesterday, Lancaster School District Superintendent, Michelle Bowers, angered the father even further after describing the most recent incident as being “regrettable.”

“We’re doing everything we need to do to support the family and to support this child in being successful in his new environment,” Bowers told local media outlets. “This is his first year in middle school and while we’re completely committed to his safety and his education, we’re also very mindful of the safety of our staff, we’re trying to balance all of that out.”

Hitting back, Hibbert told FOX11: “Regrettable? A 125-pound, 5-foot 11-year-old special needs child that ends up in handcuffs because of your gross incompetence is not regrettable, that’s abhorrent.”

The father, who stressed he did not blame the sheriff’s department, noted he is planning to sue for gross negligence and that any proceeds would be given to a charity.

Stories like this are nightmares for parents of kids with special needs. I can’t even imagine my son in the back of a police car.

Do we blame the schools? The Police? The lack of understanding of autism? There are no right answers besides…just that this has to stop.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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