August 27, 2006

School's back in session

You can tell because kids attempt to cripple their principal:

A 9-year-old boy who climbed onto the roof of Schreiber School and hurled rocks and a brick at his principal on the first day of school Thursday was arrested on felony charges.

When his mother, Maria Muhleman, arrived at the Woodland Avenue NW school, she found him being led away in handcuffs by police.

“I was saying, ‘He’s autistic. You’re going to take him in handcuffs. Come on,’ ” she said. “We’re talking about a 9-year-old with developmental disabilities.”

First instinct: "Handcuffs on my boy?? How dare you!" Not, "My gosh, is the principal OK?? Was anyone hurt?" How "modern parenting" of Mrs. Muhleman, eh?

Muhleman said that her son has been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, which is part of a spectrum of disorders that includes autism and Asperger’s syndrome, but does not meet all the characteristics of either disorder.

Wow, that's quite a title. Sounds like it covers just about anything one would want it to.

Posted by Felix at August 27, 2006 09:17 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Yeah, you get that all the time. Look at the response of Houston's Mayor to the arrest of his 17-year-old daughter on drunk-driving charges.

"My daughter believes that she was not intoxicated and was not dangerous and wouldn't be impaired in her condition to drive," White said, calling her a "good kid" who has "always shot straight with me."

He added, "I personally, based on what I've heard today, think that it (the arrest) may have been a mistake."

Notice the pattern. Blame the cop and absolve the kid -- and in this case, hire one of the most high-power lawyers in the city to defend the little menace to society.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at August 27, 2006 10:53 AM

We usually waited until the second day of school to assault our principal.

Posted by: Paul Smith Jr at August 27, 2006 04:15 PM

My son was originally diagnosed w/ PDD-NOS which is sort of a catch all diagnosis for kids with more than one developmental delay. Speech, emotional, motor skills, etc. He was later classified as autistic. It's entirely possible that the kid is delayed and if so, it's very likely he has no concept of what he was doing. My son has no fear. He would run into traffic if unattended. He does not fear other people or animals or heights or even heat. He burned his hand once b/c he felt the steam coming off the iron and liked the sensation so he touched the iron.

I'm inclined to give the kid a pass if he's delayed. Felony charges are way over the top and I'd be surprised if they're not dismissed.

p.s. if you put my son in handcuffs he would have a full blown meltdown. We had one today and that was just trying to cut his hair. I can't imagine handcuffs.

Posted by: Duffy at August 27, 2006 05:46 PM

Duff: I can sympathize w/your situation. I've had numerous autistic kids in my classes, some pretty severe, some with mild Aspergers that were highly functional. My question to you is, can you understand the difficulty a regular school would have in situations like those you describe (and those noted in Felix's story)? Especially when they have to be concerned with the safety of each and every child under their care?

I totally agree w/you that a felony rap is over the top and handcuffs were most likely inappropriate. But at least based on this story, it seems to me that Mrs. Muhleman could have been a bit more considerate of the issues involved from the school's POV.

Posted by: Hube at August 27, 2006 07:44 PM

Although I would not have thrown bricks at the principal, the incident did bring back memories of the dumb stunts I did pull. I pulled a bunch, I want you to know, and was caught a number of times. They had ways of dealing with kids like me and it didn't involve handcuffs and the police! I shudder to think of such gruesome memories! Seriously, a child with medical problems deserves proper treatment. On the other hand, children with overly mischievous tendencies need to be dealt with in the old fashioned way. We seem to have forgotten the difference!

Posted by: Al at September 5, 2006 08:26 PM

I have an autistic grandson and the first question that came to my mind was: Why was this child in a public school? There are schools for children with autism spectrum disorders, because they are not well served by the type of education they receive in most public school special-ed classes. No shame to the parents; these schools are very expensive and insurance usually doesn't cover it. Cases like this point up the need for more money going into autism treatment and research.

Posted by: Nanette at June 12, 2007 10:00 AM