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10-Year-Old Autistic Boy Arrested In School (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Luanne Haygood filmed her 10-year-old son, John Benji Haygood, being arrested by deputies on April 12 at his school in Okeechobee County, Florida (video below).

During the arrest, Luanne repeatedly told the deputies that her son was autistic.

Luanne told WPTV: "When he was saying, 'I don’t understand mama, I don’t understand. What’s going on?' That broke my heart."

According to Luanne, her young son was jailed overnight in a juvenile facility, and released on April 13.

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The boy was picked up by the deputies armed with a warrant for allegedly committing battery on a school employee in November 2016.

According to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, the boy could not be arrested until April 12 (six months later), which was his first day back in school after being suspended since the alleged incident.

Luanne said that her son kicked a teacher because he didn't feel safe around the school employee.

"It was because of his autism that spurred this incident," Luanne stated. "And he was arrested for that."

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Luanne said her son had several past behavioral issues, but feels the school district and the sheriff's office should learn how to better handle special needs students.

The sheriff’s office insists that no one was aware the boy was autistic, although his mother is heard telling deputies that her son is autistic.

The school district said that it would not "invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest," but that doesn't explain how the deputies knew the boy would be at the school.

Another unusual arrest took place in West Monroe, Louisiana, on April 8.

Jared Dylan Smith was arrested for allegedly using foul language near a 75-year-old woman, notes WXIN.

According to the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, the 18-year-old was charged with disturbing the peace through language and disorderly conduct.

The elderly woman accused Smith of shouting an expletive while standing next to her, which he denies.

According to Louisiana law, disturbing the peace includes a variety of speech and actions: "[A]ddressing any offensive, derisive, or annoying words to any other person who is lawfully in any street, or other public place; or call him by any offensive or derisive name, or make any noise or exclamation in his presence and hearing with the intent to deride, offend, or annoy him, or to prevent him from pursuing his lawful business, occupation, or duty."

This law may contradict the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Cohen v. California, which was about a man who wore a jacket bearing the words: "F*** The Draft":

Absent a more particularized and compelling reason for its actions, the State may not, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, make the simple public display of this single four-letter expletive a criminal offense. ...

For, while the particular four-letter word being litigated here is perhaps more distasteful than most others of its genre, it is nevertheless often true that one man's vulgarity is another's lyric. Indeed, we think it is largely because governmental officials cannot make principled distinctions in this area that the Constitution leaves matters of taste and style so largely to the individual.

WPTV News Report

Raw Footage

Sources: WPTV, WXIN, Justia.com / Photo credit: Klaus with K/Wikimedia Commons

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