Between bullying, studies, and the difficulty that is learning how to be an adult, life as a child can be hard enough as it is.
This is even more so when you are a child with special needs. Not only do you have to deal with all the aforementioned issues while growing up, you also have to manage your own disabilities and the problems it causes.
As you can imagine, this isn’t helped in the slightest when the people who should be helping you the most end up being the most harmful ones during these formative years.
Thatcher Grayson, an 11-year-old boy from Lexington, Kentucky, has autism. As is the case with a large number of children with autism, Thatcher is nonverbal.
Considering that autism creates lots of difficulties when it comes to processing speech, understanding social cues, and learning how to respond appropriately, being nonverbal only makes Thatcher’s life much harder than it already is.
This is especially so when he is trying to communicate his wants and needs – even trying to tell his mother about his day can already be a struggle.
So it was to Jo Grayson’s horror that she found out exactly what happened to her son. An author and Thatcher’s mother, Jo had received a text message from Thatcher’s teacher.
In it was an apology for any marks found on her son’s body, and an explanation that Thatcher had not listened to instructions and had to be physically helped off the gym floor.
What Jo found, however, was not just simple marks. They were, in fact, serious cuts and bruises.
Naturally, this alarmed Jo, who then sought to find out the true cause of her son’s injuries.
The school and the teacher attempted to play down the severity of the incident and pushed the blame onto her son, citing “sensitive skin” and her son having a meltdown.
This, however, did not deter her.
In the end, with the help of Child Protective Services, examination of the Tates Creek Middle School’s CCTV footage revealed the truth – her son had been physically dragged along the hard floor of the school – and even up a short flight of stairs – by a teacher and a nurse.
It was soon discovered what the inciting incident was. It began when Thatcher did not wish to stand during his class time, refusing to do so entirely.
Instead of following the appropriate protocols to restrain or transport a student, the staff members went straight to using physical restraint.
Fayette County states that this behaviour is unacceptable, and claims their training is very explicit in how physical restraint should only ever be used as a last resort.
The released video has caused a huge outcry, provoking Fayette County Public Schools officials to take action.
As of present, the school district has announced that the teacher in the video has been fired, and according to the Lexington Fayette County Health Department, the nurse has been forced to take administrative leave.
Considering just how damaging this incident can be to a normal child, let alone an autistic one, hopefully Thatcher will be alright, and something like this will never happen again.