Mother Outraged After Officer Handcuffs 7-Year-Old Son With Autism
A mother is outraged after her 7-year-old son was handcuffed and detained at his elementary school.
Sande Bard-Butler says her son, Allen, who has autism and a traumatic brain injury, was handcuffed by a school resource officer at Calusa Elementary School in Boca Raton, Florida, who then tried to to involuntarily commit him at a mental health hospital, 10News WTSP reported.
Allen, who can be aggressive when triggered, according to his mother, had a meltdown where he lashed out at his special needs teacher, raising a pencil as if to stab her. That’s when the resource officer handcuffed him and tried to commit him to North Bay Recovery Center in Lutz, Florida, but a doctor there refused to admit him.
“Allen can get triggered and upset and be very aggressive, but if you handle it in the right way, it can be de-escalated very quickly,” Butler told 10News WTSP. “They put him on his stomach on the floor and put handcuffs behind his back. I’m frustrated, and angry, very angry.”
Bard-Butler posted photos on Facebook of her son’s wrists after he had the handcuffs taken off.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office told the outlet that under state law, deputies can be handcuff or zip tie anyone, no matter their age. Butler has hired attorney Nicolette Nicoletti to deal with the district and sheriff’s office. She plans to sue.
Nicoletti says that the case is currently being investigated at the school board and sherriff’s office.
“The allegations being set forth are extremely serious and we are doing everything we can to make sure no child suffers the way that Allen has again,” Nicoletti told The Mighty.
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The Mighty reached out to both the school district and the sheriff’s office for comment but have yet to hear back.