A Florida mother has demanded changes from her autistic son’s school district after he was reportedly handcuffed during a special needs class.
According to Sande Butler, a school resource officer at Calusa Elementary handcuffed and detained her son, WTSP reports. The officer also allegedly attempted to commit Butler’s son to a mental health hospital.
“Really? He’s 7,” Butler told WTSP. “He does not need handcuffs behind his back.”
Butler said her son Allen, who also suffers from a traumatic brain injury and has a shunt in his head, can get triggered and become aggressive when he’s upset. She added that handling his behavior the right way can de-escalate the situation very quickly.
The recent incident began after Allen reportedly raised a pencil at the teacher during class. However, Butler said she’s told the school “1,000 times” to keep pencils away from him.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office said deputies follow state law when Baker Acting anyone, regardless of age, meaning that Allen could legally be handcuffed or zip tied. In response to that, Butler called for a change in the law.
“They should change that, especially a child with a brain injury,” Butler said. “They put him on his stomach on the floor and put handcuffs behind his back. I’m frustrated and angry, very angry.”
After the handcuffing incident, the resource officer reportedly brought Allen to the North Bay Recovery Center in Lutz, Florida, to be involuntarily committed. However, the doctor there found Allen to be "calm and collected" and refused to admit him, according to records obtained by WTSP.
Butler told Bay News 9 that the incident was "traumatic" for her son.
"[Allen's] scared," she said. "He's scared to sleep in his own bed. He's scared every time he sees a sheriff, he thinks they're going to take him."
Butler has since taken Allen out of the school and is looking into enrolling him in an alternative program so he can educated at home.
Butler has since hired an attorney. She has also sent a letter to the school district and sheriff’s office saying that she plans to sue, according to WTSP.
Butler’s attorney, Nicolette Nicoletti, said they want to make sure everyone involved in education is properly trained in the treatment of students.