February 17, 2019

We're Failing Autistic Children

“What strikes me most about the video is the teacher’s arrogance.

The viral footage in question shows Trina Abrams, a teacher in Kentucky, dragging a 9-year-old autistic boy down the hallway in a brutal fashion. Not only does Abrams lack any qualms about laying her hands on a child, she seems positively swaggering in her self-righteousness as she does so. “You want to walk?” she asks at one point, according to The Washington Post. When the boy says no, she blurts out “Okay,” and then pulls him across the hallway by his wrists. Initially she had been dragging him by his arms; later, when he falls to his knees, she pulls him through the hallway in a kneeling position.

It later turned out that Abrams did this because she wanted to take disciplinary action against the child, and decided to physically drag him to where she wanted him to go when he refused to walk there on his own. Now it is Abrams who has been punished — first by getting fired from the school, then by being charged with assault in the fourth degree against a child younger than 12.

This isn’t even the first time in 2019 that the abuse of an autistic child by school officials has made the news. On Friday, Guiding Hands School in El Dorado Hills, California had its certification revoked by the state’s department of education after an autistic teen died there in November, according to CBS Sacramento. Both stories reinforce the same problem — that school officials don’t know how to handle children who are on the spectrum, and they aren’t giving teachers any instruction either.”

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