School Suspends 5-Year-Old Autistic Boy for Running Away From School (VIDEO)

Say What!? 68

schoolIn 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.

KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Do you this boy should be suspended for running away from school?


Image via KXXV

autism, boys, elementary school, education


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LostS... LostSoul88

I would be suing, one because how the hell doe sa 5 yr old run away?! 2nd I would be suing for them not sotifing me the minute he turned up missing. They were protecting their asses.

JoMeara JoMeara

The punishment seems fair. Taking into consideration how many students are in that school, how many have special needs, how many are autistic, and how many professionals are being paid to work there plus unpaid volunteers, it is amazing they don't have more problems. There is never enough money in the budget to add enough trained people to help these poor kids. While I sympathize with the parents, they need to get over it and not file a complaint (unless they have a real issue). Autism sucks, and it is so much easier to comment and complain about how things should be when you are not the one directly involved with the teaching. 

ASouza77 ASouza77

The teacher or aid who wasn't keeping an eye on the autistic child should be the one suspended. Not the child. Autistic children's brains work differently than other children. Would you fault a deaf child for standing up after the teacher told the class to sit? No.... because the deaf child has a hearing issue and couldn't hear. You can't fault an autistic child for doing something out of the normal because their normal isn't everyone else's normal!

LostS... LostSoul88

So JoMera, 

if your young child disappeared from school and the school faield to notify you till after the child was found (also they failed to notify thw authorities) you wouldn't be upset what so ever? 

You might need to re-think being a parent. 

Caera Caera

I don't blame the school for the punishment at all. Kids in school have to know they cannot leave unattended. I don't care what version of ESE the kid is.

I do blame the school for letting it happen. They should be "punished" too.

Robyn Clark

Does the child not receive special education? I know that there are laws in place protecting special education students. Running away is often an issue that autistic kids have and therefore steps should be put in place to prevent that from happening. I

nonmember avatar Reilly

I'm a mom to an autistic son and two other boys. I adamantly believe we should be educating our children with special needs is specially equipped schools. This is part of the reason why. As someone commented earlier, children with autism learn differently so why are we all so hung up on having them be taught the same? They're not the same.

CPN322 CPN322

I'm so glad that my family had the means to put my sister in a specialty school. It made a world of difference. I really, really wish that all special needs children could attend specialty schools. He needs to be reprimanded and worked with, not suspension. Now this school....yeah, they screwed up big time. Something needs to be done about the way they handled this entire situation.

CPN322 CPN322


Jespren Jespren

You go JoMeara!

This is why 'mainstreaming' special educational kids is a *bad* idea. If kids need 'special' attention they should be in 'special' schools were that is possible. It's irresponsible to group kids who really need extra along with your 'average' kid. And it's deterimental to the learning abilities of both!

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