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3 Bumps

What would YOU do if your 5 yr old Autistic ran away...

and the school punished him for it and didn't notify you that the child ran away until after he was found? (gone for over 30 minutes)

In what appears to be yet another example of how ill-equipped some schools are to handle the needs of children with autism, 5-year-old Kendrick Butler of Killeen, Texas ran away from his school last week. He was on the run for 35 minutes in all. He made it several blocks, and was almost hit by a car at one point.

Fortunately, he was okay. His mother got a call Friday afternoon telling her to come pick him up, and they gave her a brief description of what happened, along with his punishment -- a three-day suspension from school.

Does anyone else see something incredibly wrong with that?

First of all, the fact that he was able to escape the school sounds problematic. How did that happen? But to suspend him seems outrageous to me. He didn't hurt anyone, and while he needs to learn not to run away from school, kicking him out isn't going to help him learn the lesson. It may end up being more of a reward than anything.

While it sounds like the school was at least aware that he left and did get him back safely, it seems they should be questioning how it happened more than how to punish him. And how on earth did it take 35 minutes to catch him? Accidents and mistakes happen, and we don't have enough details about how he escaped to say the school's negligence led to it, but punishing the boy in this manner seems wrong any way you look at it.

The school district says it's investigating the incident, but Jackson has filed a formal complaint, and I don't blame her. While there should certainly be some action taken to make sure her son doesn't run away again, it needs to be action that is productive and understanding of autism rather than some random punishment that will likely do more harm than good.


Asked by LostSoul88 at 12:24 PM on Feb. 28, 2013 in Parenting Debate

Level 40 (119,496 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (21)
  • If the child has an IEP my understanding is is the incident is related to the disability then the child can't be suspended. But without one then of course the child can be. Suspension or not, I would have wanted to be called. And have authorities being called. This happens quite a bit and as far as I know schools are handing out million dollar settlements. It is something schools do need to re evaluate given the increase in children with special needs being served.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:20 AM on Mar. 2, 2013

  • i would be making calls and taking actions against school
    first they did not provide safe environment and then suspends child on top of it

    plenty of agencies that help with legal rights of children with disabilities

    Answer by fiatpax at 12:38 PM on Feb. 28, 2013

  • some people do not realize that a child with autism is a HUGE flight risk
    it is not bad parenting or a naughty child
    it is part of autism (not all, most a very high %)

    school 100% at fault
    they asses will be sued, they school will lose

    Answer by fiatpax at 12:41 PM on Feb. 28, 2013

  • parent should be called in matter of minutes

    Answer by fiatpax at 12:42 PM on Feb. 28, 2013

  • ...that comment- least restrictive environment got his attention (it is straight from my booklet on rights of children with disabilities, glad i remembered when i was so upset

    they added a teacher, so two adults to 22 kids, put up a sign that no one on playground when school in session (as their were toddlers also on playground, came with parents waiting to pick up their children- so was really more like ONE teacher for MORE than 22 kids

    and after next IEP meeting, i told the special ed teacher after the meeting, on the side, o told her that if it ever happens again "shit will hit the fan" told her that i will get my lawyer involved, it is now on her IEP that she is a flight risk, on her autism reports the PhD states this as first danger, and there is already one time it has happened 


    Answer by Anonymous at 12:57 PM on Feb. 28, 2013

  • did the school call police?

    Answer by fiatpax at 12:43 PM on Feb. 28, 2013

  • last year, third day of school, my child took off, lucky i found her down the block
    the assistant teacher was watching 22 children (4-5 years old)
    the fence had three sides not enclosed
    i spoke to assistant, than teacher, than special ed teacher, than principal

    i said to him, maybe one teacher to 22 children is not enough, i volunteer to come and watch kids, so two adults to 22 kids, i offered to just fund raiser to get a 4th side to the fence, i said if my child can take off without being noticed- other children can take off too.
    he said to me, maybe we can keep her inside while all the other kids go outside
    i said like put her in a room and close the door? you can not punish her for having autism, i warned the school on a number of occasions that she is a flight risk
    and putting her in a room and closing the door, is not the least restrictive environment

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:49 PM on Feb. 28, 2013

  • they see me coming and hope by now, they know to give me what i ask for, as i will just keep calling IEP meetings until they make the changes that i want, i am not unreasonable, i know what daughter needs and my requests are reasonable
    services cost money, but early intervention costs less then not doing enough so then services needed for years more
    also having multiple IEPs costs money and is a pain in the ass for all 6 school teachers and therapists to make time to meet with me, when i will not take no for an answer

    a good advocate is being a bitch to get what is best for your child, and not caring if you are a bitch
    if being a total bitch to get the best services is what it takes... i wear the bitch sign proudly
    i am not there to have the IEP team like me

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:07 PM on Feb. 28, 2013

  • OMG, the school suspended him? My son left the house a few years back, so I understand that maybe it was unavoidable that he ran away, perhaps when they were outside, but to suspend him is clearly wrong! Did they call her as soon as it happened or did it take 35 minutes to realize he was gone?

    Answer by jerseydiva at 12:28 PM on Feb. 28, 2013

  • I would be livid, I think they didn't realize he was gone! I would file a formal complaint as well!

    Answer by jerseydiva at 12:34 PM on Feb. 28, 2013