8-year old arrested for throwing a tantrum

Un-friggin-believable.

The mother of an 8-year-old autistic girl who was arrested after a scuffle with her teachers said it was horrifying to watch her daughter be led away in handcuffs from her northern Idaho elementary school.
Towry, who lives in Ponderay, said Evelyn told her that she had been refused entry into a school Christmas party that had been delayed until after the holidays because of a string of snow days, because she refused to take off her beloved "cow costume" -- a hoodie with cow ears and a tail.

Towry said Evelyn, who loves Spongebob Squarepants, told her she was put in a separate classroom away from the party, but when she tried to leave, the teachers told her to stay put. Evelyn did not listen, Towry said, and the adults physically restrained her.

"She reacted in a violent way to the physical restraint," Towry said.
Towry said her daughter demonstrated for her how she was held down by her arms and legs. And Towry videotaped the thumb-sized bruises she says were left on Evelyn's legs from the incident.
I know it won't happen, but I really want the teachers and police officers involved to suffer some serious consequences. First of all, what the hell is so wrong with a hoodie that the child would be kicked out of a Christmas party? And why is it such a serious infraction that the teachers would feel the need to physically restrain her when she tried to leave the room? And THEN they call the police, who put the child in handcuffs! How the hell is this a police matter?
Eres o te haces?
I agree that this case sounds severe, if the girl was left with bruises on her body. But let me offer a few more thoughts on the situation.

The school restrained the girl when she tried to leave the room. Well, they are responsible for her and they have to have her in their custody during school hours. The girl had gotten in trouble and was probably upset. The school can't just let her walk out the room away from adult supervision. What if she left the school building? What if she went out into the street and got hit by a car or went missing?

As for getting in trouble for wearing a hoodie, well, schools have dress codes. When I taught high school, students weren't permitted to wear hats or hoods. Maybe the girl wouldn't put the hood down--she is shown with it up in all the pictures--and that was against the rules, especially at a special event like a school party. If so, it was not unreasonable to get her in trouble or remove her from the party.

I do think the school might have acted inappropriately in light of the girl's Asperger syndrome. But I'm not sure what they should have done differently, especially in the events leading up to the police call.
ya know, if the parents wouldve left bruises on the child - that's abuse...regardless of what the child was doing.

she's 54 friggin pounds. for her to have bruises is ridiculous.

if the school wants to do no child left behind, they ought to make sure they have a friggin special eds teacher on staff who's, oh i dont know, actually read a book about these kids.

there wasn't an emergency plan in place for a kid like this?!

chances are as well, the kid didnt touch the teacher - the teacher touched the kid first. autism kids dont generally reach out...

wow. i hope they sue.
The article was poorly written.

Regarding the cow hoodie: It seems that she wears this all of the time - even in school. For some reason, the teachers wanted her to remove only for the Christmas party and she refused. She was then sent to a different room (to me the room was very near to the Christmas party). When the child left, I assumed she was trying to reenter the party.

The article doesn't say whether the child told the teachers watching her that she was leaving the punishment room to join the party.
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I agree that this case sounds severe, if the girl was left with bruises on her body. But let me offer a few more thoughts on the situation.

The school restrained the girl when she tried to leave the room. Well, they are responsible for her and they have to have her in their custody during school hours. The girl had gotten in trouble and was probably upset. The school can't just let her walk out the room away from adult supervision. What if she left the school building? What if she went out into the street and got hit by a car or went missing?

As for getting in trouble for wearing a hoodie, well, schools have dress codes. When I taught high school, students weren't permitted to wear hats or hoods. Maybe the girl wouldn't put the hood down--she is shown with it up in all the pictures--and that was against the rules, especially at a special event like a school party. If so, it was not unreasonable to get her in trouble or remove her from the party.

I do think the school might have acted inappropriately in light of the girl's Asperger syndrome. But I'm not sure what they should have done differently, especially in the events leading up to the police call.
Originally Posted by sarah42
out of curiosity, would you use that same type of thinking if it were your child?


i think its ridiculous. there are ways to deal with children, special needs or otherwise. and that was not the way to handle the situation. it sounds like those involved just wanted to flex their authority and make the girl submit, by any means necessary. now they proved theat theyre in charge and she isnt. but it really proved that they have no business working with people at all.
I have trouble with stories like this. My husband works at a school for special needs kids. The kids at his school each have their own IEP and an individual standard to which they are held. Some kids with developmental delays and other problems like autism need their cow costumes or other seemingly nonsensical things to function. So I can't fathom why this kid with special needs would have been asked to give something like that up. To me, that's the (first) big no-no in a situation like this. If she's autistic, she has special needs, she should have her own IEP and she should be given leeway to have what she needs to function. It's not a matter of training her to function "normally," and to adhere to rules that average kids have to adhere to. There's no benefit in trying to squeeze a special needs kid into the mold of your average kid. It won't work, and it will frustrate everyone involved.

Moving on from that, people with autism sometimes need to be restrained. Restraint SHOULD have been possible without hurting her, and certainly should have been possible without the need for police, if the staff were properly trained (which goes back to her being in an environment catered to her particular needs). If her behavior escalated beyond what a properly trained staff could handle, then it seems to me a mental health facility should have been brought in, not police.
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I have trouble with stories like this. My husband works at a school for special needs kids. The kids at his school each have their own IEP and an individual standard to which they are held. Some kids with developmental delays and other problems like autism need their cow costumes or other seemingly nonsensical things to function. So I can't fathom why this kid with special needs would have been asked to give something like that up. To me, that's the (first) big no-no in a situation like this. If she's autistic, she has special needs, she should have her own IEP and she should be given leeway to have what she needs to function. It's not a matter of training her to function "normally," and to adhere to rules that average kids have to adhere to. There's no benefit in trying to squeeze a special needs kid into the mold of your average kid. It won't work, and it will frustrate everyone involved.

Moving on from that, people with autism sometimes need to be restrained. Restraint SHOULD have been possible without hurting her, and certainly should have been possible without the need for police, if the staff were properly trained (which goes back to her being in an environment catered to her particular needs). If her behavior escalated beyond what a properly trained staff could handle, then it seems to me a mental health facility should have been brought in, not police.
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
you said that better than i did. :P that article really frustrated me!
All of this started because of a hoodie?

The school totally mishandled this.
out of curiosity, would you use that same type of thinking if it were your child?
Originally Posted by subbrock
That's hard to say. Of course I don't want my child manhandled by school personnel. But I would expect him to be kept under supervision at all times, which was my concern when the article said the girl was trying to leave the room--I took that to mean she was trying to storm out and go God knows where. I would hope there could be a way to restrain her or keep her under supervision without inflicting bruises. Maybe special education teachers, school psychologists, etc. have training in that; I know that as a regular education teacher, I did not (and sometimes I thought I needed it when fistfights broke out at school--but that's another story).

I agree with Michelle's point that this hoodie seemed to be a special object for the girl because of her syndrome, and if so, the school needs to allow it.
I'm going to try and be as PC about this as possible....

What I've noticed is that all kids with special needs are sorta lumped together (autism, developmentally delayed, severly handicapped, ect) without regards to the individual needs that each subset of children will need (in public schools). It makes it really hard when you have teachers that really care and want to help these children and have a genuine care/concern for them.

My younger sister is a special ed teacher in a public school....and she has literally been beaten up by kids throwing tantums. Last year...she got a black eye from a kid with autism that had a tantrum and was throwing stuff and he kicked her in the face when she went to try and restrain him from hurting other students with things he was throwing. She's been hit, punched, spit on, kicked...ect. This one kid was so violent, that the last time he went off, the only thing she could do was get the other kids out of the way and into another classroom and wait for him to calm down while he destroyed the classroom. Finally, the school had to tell the parents that they could no longer provide services for thier child because he is a danger to staff and other children.

So...at what point should teachers and other students be subjected to the physical abuse that some of these students can dole out? I know its not necessarly the kids fault, but still.

I feel bad for feeling like this...but sometimes I wonder why some of these children are even in public school to begin with. Wouldn't they be better served in a more specialized environment where there are staffers that are trained to calm them down when they get upset, know how to restrain them properly, and can even help them process what it is that they are feeling that causes them to act out (for those that are verbal)? Cause I can assure you that most special education teachers are not trained in these things....its not a requirement of thier degree program. The only reason that my sister knows the basic restraints that she does is because she took a class offered by a local austim support group for parents/care givers.
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The school probably didnt want to be held responsible if the girl up and left the building. I can't blame them for calling the police.

Also it is very hard to find special ed teachers. I was one of three special ed majors in my graduating class. The building I work in has four openings. Not enough money. Not enough teachers. This is why incidents like this happen
I think that if a school has to call the police to restrain an 8-year old, that reflects very poorly on the school and its staff.

I think if the police choose to handcuff an 8-year old, that reflects very poorly on the police officers involved.
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There's no indication that the child was trying to leave the building, just the room. And it sounds like the tantrum didn't start until after the teachers tried to physically restrain her, which they did because they wanted to keep her away from the party.
Eres o te haces?
Ridiculous. The staff obviously failed and didn't know how to handle the situation.
I'm interested to learn more details, if there's an investigation.
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