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This Video of Cops Arresting an Autistic 10-Year-Old Is the Case Against Police in Schools

"I don't understand."

A 10-year-old boy who suffers from autism told the school resource officer, "I don't want to be touched." He was handcuffed anyway, taken to jail, and forced to spend a night in a juvenile detention facility.

It happened at Okeechobee Achievement Academy in Florida, where young John Benjamin "Benji" Haygood was accused of disrupting class and striking a special education teacher as she tried to restrain him. That incident took place last November, and led to the teacher filing charges against Benji.

Police issues a warrant for Benji's arrest, but according to The Washington Post, no action was taken at the time. Then, last week, Benji and his mother returned to the school for standardize testing. A school resource officer arrested him as he screamed, "I don't understand!" Benji's mother asked to accompany him to the jail, but was refused. She did manage to film the arrest, however.

The school district denied that it had asked Benji to come to the school in order to arrest him, but offered no additional comment on the case.

Benji, who was diagnosed with autism two years ago, clearly suffers from disciplinary issues. Hitting teachers and other classmates isn't okay. But the public school system has an obligation to socialize young people and teach them proper behavior. (If it does not have this obligation, then what's the point of compulsory public schooling in the first place?) When school officials ship a kid off to jail, they are failing to do their jobs, and making life miserable for the kid.

Are our nation's 10-year-olds so dangerous, such criminal masterminds, that they need to be handcuffed and detained over night? Watching the video, you might think Benji was a murderer, or prodigious bank robber. No, he's an autistic kid who had a bad day. But it's illegal to have a bad day at school, when the school outsources disciplinary enforcement to the local police.

For more on this subject, read "Why Are Cops Putting Kids in Cuffs?" from the March issue of Reason.

Photo Credit: Screenshot via Miami Herald

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  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Hitting teachers and other classmates isn't okay

    One minor quibble with the grammar. I believe this should read:

    OMG, hitting teachers and other classmates isn't, like, okay, right?

  • Chipper Mourning Will Grigg||

    Robby, why can't you just defend the kid without judging his behavior? Why do you have to virtue signal? I bet if the kid was a Democrat, you would be ok with him hitting other classmates.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Robby talks the way my kids talk and that is not OK.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    What if your teacher is a nazi?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    But the public school system has an obligation to socialize young people and teach them proper behavior.

    I'm starting to get the feeling that this is exactly the kind of socializing they want people to accept as proper.

  • Homple||

    Well, given that schools are required to admit and pretend to educate dysfunctional nutcases, what are they supposed to do when a nutcase becomes intolerably disruptive?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Send them home?

  • Homple||

    Yes, and do what can be done to encourage his parents not to bring the little shit back again.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Right. I do feel a bit bad for the parents for being forced to send the kid to school though.

  • Homple||

    I feel bad for the parents as well. It has to be tough with a seriously messed up kid around the house all day. My wife works as a school nurse and she tells how desperate parents are to somehow get their problem kids in school. Trouble is, it doesn't work well mixing education with providing respite care for the un-educable. If taxpayers can fund daycare through the public education system, maybe we can fund some respite care, but separate from a learning environment.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    maybe we can fund some respite care, but separate from a learning environment.

    I agree that if money must be taken to fund something this would be a far better use for it.

  • Homple||

    Yup.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    ...repealing mandatory school attendance and letting them opt out of property-taxes for instance.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    ...repealing mandatory school attendance and letting them opt out of property-taxes for instance.

  • BYODB||

    This. So much this. Just to put it out there, this insanity continues up through College level courses where people who are unemployable receive government grants to take classes that are literally reduced in difficulty for that individual so they can then be given a 'good job' Bachlors or even a Masters. It's bat shit insane.


    If a mentally disturbed or disabled person wants to get a degree in, for example, English Literature shouldn't they need to pass using the same testing criteria as everyone else? Nah, lets just give them 8x the amount of time and a different test from everyone else to 'accommodate' the fact their brain doesn't work properly.


    Amusingly, if you get a diagnosis for ADDHD or something along those lines (not a hard thing to do if you go Doctor shopping) you can benefit from this program as a regular individual as well. It really serves to illustrate how absolutely insane all education has become these days.


    If they can pay, and they don't mind the chance that they'll fail out in a matter of days, I see no reason why they couldn't pursue such a program on their own but to subsidize and change the criteria for them makes the entire system pointless. I worked in the testing lab for my college, and the shit I saw was disgusting. Rampant abuse of the system along with wingnuts that couldn't stand the slightest critique of their child-like work.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    This is the perfect reason for getting rid of the idea of public education. Not everyone belongs in a school being force-fed standard, government approved lessons.

  • ||

    Amusingly, if you get a diagnosis for ADDHD or something along those lines (not a hard thing to do if you go Doctor shopping) you can benefit from this program as a regular individual as well. It really serves to illustrate how absolutely insane all education has become these days.

    Doctor shopping? Fuck that! I can tell you first hand, just 'let' your kid turn his classwork into origami, make fart noises in music class, and tape 'kick me!' signs to other kids in the hallway. The doctors will flock to you. The crushing schadenfreude really kicks in when you recognize that everyone responsible for making the diagnosis, as adults, can't sit still for 5 min. conversations.

    IMO, it's pseudo-science on par with the science of eugenics.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    In my opinion, ADD and ADHD are real things. However, they are things that doctors mistakenly try to fix. They aren't things that can't be overcome by people who have them (I know from experience), unfortunately if there's money to be made hawking a pill then somebody is going to go after it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I agree that attention deficits are a legit thing. However, it also seems to me that they're not even disorders - they're phenomena that would have been well within the evolutionary healthy normal for humans, but which happen to be wildly inconvenient for the modern industrial-educational complex. Thomas Szasz would know what's up with that.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    also seems to me that they're not even disorders

    Agreed. And the funny thing is that, I believe, it's caused by unending exposure to the industrial-educational complex that it's causing so much trouble for. It's an evolutionary response to constant data input.

  • ||

    However, it also seems to me that they're not even disorders - they're phenomena that would have been well within the evolutionary healthy normal for humans, but which happen to be wildly inconvenient for the modern industrial-educational complex. Thomas Szasz would know what's up with that.

    This hits about half the nail more squarely on the head. Plenty of clinical trials for many of the ADHD medications show 10-20% decreases in symptoms among the placebo group and (the main reason I consent to my son's dosing) only about 25% of the kids who use/need as children continue to use/need into adulthood. It's not polio where you get it and you're crippled for life (or you get vaccinated) and it's not even like depression or addiction where even you get it and treatment might help you get over it but you're never really guaranteed to be cured.

    There are definitely abnormal behavioral features (as well as medically confounding factors) and there's no doubt those features are holding him back as a whole being (I have unusual or intermittent sleep patterns and, relative to him, I can only claim or aspire to be an insomniac), but the diagnose, treat, cure cycle of behavioral medicine in general (let alone a subtle behavioral disease only some 30-40 yrs. old) is far from mature.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Agreed.

  • BYODB||

    People do it because it makes college simpler, regardless of your major. Remember those times in college, if you attended, where you would have liked an extra few hours to take your test? Just get a diagnosis of ADD/ADDHD and *boom* that wish is granted. Never mind that in real life, you would be fired for taking twice as long.

    One of the guys I went to college with got his finance degree this way. He held exactly one finance job for a week or so before being fired, and that was the last time he really worked. He's been a professional student ever since, but that will never translate into employment. At least he did it on his own, or more correctly his parents, dime. It was a scam by the University at the behest of FedGov though. He would never have made it out with the standard testing.

  • Robert||

    What's he taken since then?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Don't wanna go to jail like a thug, don't be an autistic child like a thug.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Scumbag is lucky he's still breathing.

  • ||

    Maybe the mom doesn't have the luxury of having someone to make her one phone call to but, one way or another, I would've been in that squad car all the way to the jail.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Parents withdrawing him from the school isn't enough?

  • Homple||

    Problem was, they brought him back.

  • Stoic||

    It says he hit the teacher as she tried to restrain him for disrupting class. I don't know about this specific school, but most places it is against policy to restrain a child unless there is a risk of physical harm to self or others. So, the important question in this case is exactly what "disrupting class" involved. Unless it involved threatening others or self-harm, it's the teacher's own damn fault for putting her hands on him in the first place.

  • Brandybuck||

    I worked in a private school where it was okay to "restrain" a child. The restraint was merely holding them until they calmed down. And whenever I restrained a child they hit me. Because that's what disruptive children do.

    Being a teacher requires patience. I left teaching because I don't have the patience. The teacher that filed charges should be fired. Or in Democrat strongholds they should be barred from the classroom while they continue to receive a salary. You don't file charges against a student. I mean, geez. That is so anti-teacher it boggles the mind.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    (If it does not have this obligation, then what's the point of compulsory public schooling in the first place?)

    Robby has never read Gatto, apparently. In short: the point (explicitly, according to its original backers) of compulsory public schooling is to create interchangeable cogs who consume American products, obey American leaders, and in general comply with the needs of the government, military, businesses, and the more civic-minded religious pluralities without feeling the need to ask a bunch of inconvenient questions.

    Which, i guess, IS a type of socialization, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Citizen X - #6||

    And, i suppose on second thought, Robby might be asking a rhetorical question.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Yeah, there is a significant percentage of the population that cannot, will not, or should not conform to the regimentation of "schooling". They may be to stupid, too smart, too unstable, too damaged, or have perceived that the goal is to turn them into an "interchangeable cog". They may end up as brilliant musicians, writers or artists. Or they may end up panhandling for another bottle of Mad Dog 20/20. In any case they will not benefit from 13 years (soon to be 17 years) of state ordered indoctrination. This boy should be home with his family who seem capable.
    Having said that, decades of litigation have determined that every child, no matter how brilliant or fucked up, has a right (obligation) to state ordered indoctrination. This leaves local public school systems with the obligation to create silly, pointless programs to accommodate all comers. And parents with the right (obligation) to demand them.

  • Jerryskids||

    A special-ed teacher filing charges against a ten-year old who hit her? That's a prima facie case that the teacher is a failure at her job, isn't it? But just as I'm sure the teacher is a "she", I'd be willing to bet the teacher's a millennial snowflake who had to retire to her fainting couch upon being confronted with physical resistance to her authoritah.

  • ||

    But just as I'm sure the teacher is a "she",

    Shut up! Do you want the kid convicted of rape too?

  • Robert||

    Definitely a failure. Special ed teachers are supposed to be tough, expecting situations like this. The teacher tries to restrain a student, the student struggles & lands blows, &...the special ed teacher files charges via police? This teacher took the wrong career path! Might as well just file charges now vs. every student in class, since that's where it's going to end up for many of them if this teacher has her way. If you don't think you're able to physically handle the child, why are you grabbing him?

  • BYODB||


    "But the public school system has an obligation to socialize young people and teach them proper behavior. (If it does not have this obligation, then what's the point of compulsory public schooling in the first place?)


    I'll take 'education' for $500, Alex.


    I think you're mistaking the Public School System for a parent; common mistake.

  • Brandybuck||

    What the hell does schooling have to do with education?

  • ThomasD||

    "the public school system has an obligation to socialize young people and teach them proper behavior. (If it does not have this obligation, then what's the point of compulsory public schooling in the first place?)"

    A libertarian might be able to connect these questions to the incident/subject and make a strong argument against public schools.

    Robby, meanwhile, wouldn't recognize a 2x4 if it smacked him in the head.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Listen friendo, this article had been up for almost an hour before you finally showed up to let us know that Robby isn't a real libertarian. Almost a whole fucking hour! Where were you when the rest of us were commenting on the actual article, huh? Shirking your fucking duty, obviously. Get on the ball next time or who knows how many people may be damaged!

  • ThomasD||

    Sorry. I will endeavor to persevere.

    Robby is bad enough when he's ordinary Robby. But when he reels off lines like the ones quoted it is damn hard not to note that it reveals both profound obliviousness to the established ideas and arguments of libertarianism and and also a categorical inability to suss any of them out by himself.

    It is just not in his nature.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I know, right? Fucking punk wouldn't know real libertarianism if it was fucking him in the ass.

  • Brandybuck||

    This post is why we can never have nice things.

  • Robert||

    You don't have to be a libertarian to write articles of interest to libertarians, I hope.

  • some guy||

    A libertarian might be able to connect these questions to the incident/subject and make a strong argument against public schools.

    That point has been made often in these pages. Why does Robby need to rehash it explicitly yet again when he did imply that point in the second sentence you quoted.

  • ThomasD||

    Reread that second line.

    Do you really think it makes a libertarian argument? I do not. I think it reads as a straight up endorsement of both compulsory schooling and schooling as a form of behavior modification/socialization.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    No way a moron like El Robbo could understand the concept of a rhetorical question.

  • ThomasD||

    Not buying it. Either that or Robby's rhetorical skills are so poor as to be another reason why we should question his getting published at Reason.

    As an aside, are you really trying to argue that this is Robby making a rhetorical libertarian argument after previously alluding to the fact that my criticism of this episode is but one of many, many such episodes?

    And let's just close with this thought.

    "But it's illegal to have a bad day at school, when the school outsources disciplinary enforcement to the local police."

    The state outsourcing to the state being such a strong libertarian concept.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Not buying it.

    And who could blame you? Robby is just some faggy, mop-headed millennial who doesn't know the first thing about libertarianism.

  • ThomasD||

    You want to argue with what I actually say? Have at it.

    You want to self soothe by beating up strawmen that don't even resemble me? Do it in private.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    You want to argue with what I actually say? Have at it.

    Why would I do that? You said nothing of value that needs to be argued against.

  • wef||

    Thugs gotta thug.


    You're hopeless if you´re still surprised by yet more evidence that the "authorities" are at core violent, do thuggish things by nature, and are almost always overweight dimwits.

  • ThomasD||

    It's even worse than simple thuggery. This is a form of institutional thuggery.

    What he did was simple battery. A misdemeanor in Florida. Under most any other circumstance the cops would not have come out to arrest someone so long after the incident. You'd merely be told your court date, and probably be offered a plea deal where you might not even have to appear. It would just be an expense, and a juvenile record.

    This arrest, and overnight stay was orchestrated to force both mom and little Benji into the court system in a much more involved manner. My guess is that mom is seen as part of the problem. So this is the government trying to 'help' a bad situation by application of force.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The mom is clearly willing to stand up to school authorities and police, so can't have that. Off you go in cuffs.

  • ThomasD||

    It might even be nothing more than someone at the school having jumped to the conclusion that at least part of Benji's issues stem from 'poor parenting.'

    Because that's the purpose of public education, having outsiders pass judgement on your parenting.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    This kid's lucky he ain't black.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Mainstreaming is the best friend of the resource officer with a quota.

  • Trumptard||

    Alot of the autistic and Asperger-istic are trouble. People with family members who suffer from these conditions can relate.

  • wef||

    This story makes me cringe a little. Back in 3rd grade, long time ago, my Aspergery-ness got me into big trouble and fights with teachers. I was pretty bad, but luckily that was in the dark ages when teachers gave it right back to me, and the worst they did was just give me detention.

  • target||

    I don't know if the number is going up, but I remember when I was in school, we had only 1 or 2 special ed kids in our school. My sister works as a substitute, and looking at the list of SPED classes, I have to wonder if, as the infant mortality rate has gone down, we are ending up with a lot more less than fully functioning kids.

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    It's really just a case against police in general.

  • ||

    Mandatory government-run-at-the-Federal-level is the issue, here. Special needs children are a strain on public schools where most parents use the system as respite care for themselves.

  • E. Kline||

    "Hitting teachers and other classmates isn't okay."
    Ahh there he is. Thanks for that little tidbit Robby. The kid has a medical diagnoses of mental illness. I've been around many autistic children, a lot of them hit, and or bite. If you're going to work with them, you can't take it personally, and you really can't call the police on them.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Pigs gotta be pigs

  • Lord_at_War||

    But the public school system has an obligation to socialize young people and teach them proper behavior. (If it does not have this obligation, then what's the point of compulsory public schooling in the first place?)

    Free babysitting paid for by people without kids? You can always homeschool the little retard...

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