Autistic Boy Subjected to Horrifying Punishment Needs Your Help

school hallwayWhen something horrible happens to a child – regardless of whether that child is your own or a stranger's – it affects all of us parents. When we hear about a child who has been abused or hurt, we parents feel that child's pain deep in our bones. We feel upset. We feel outraged. We want to rise up to right terrible wrongs and to protect other children from similar pain and abuse.

Well, in the case of Christopher Baker, a 9-year-old from Kentucky with a sweet smile and a diagnosis of autism and ADHD, we parents may be able to take a stand for what is right and prevent future wrongs.

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Christopher, you may or may not have heard, was confined in a gym bag by his special education teacher at a public school as a punishment for disobeying a teacher's aide. His mother found him confined in the bag who knows how long after he had been placed inside it (with the bag's drawstring pulled tight), when she arrived at the school to pick Christopher up. She demanded that her son be released, and Christopher emerged from the bag sweaty and uncommunicative. His mother was rightly outraged.

As are so many of us! Look, I know there are theories that kids who suffer from autism may find it comforting to be "swaddled," to feel a protective sense of enclosure or pressure, but that's a very different thing from confining a child against his will in a gym bag that's supposed to be used for balls – not for kids (no matter their behavior)! To think of Christopher being confined that way against his will is deeply upsetting.

But the heartening news for those of us who find the school's actions absolutely unacceptable is that we can do something to make our outrage known: A petition is circulating via Change.org calling on the Mercer County (Kentucky) Board of Education to end the inhumane techniques it used on Christopher from being used on him again or on any other student.

"If you think it's wrong to tell an Autistic child to climb inside a bag not intended as an instrument of confinement and tighten it with a drawstring, which could potentially have led to serious injury or death, as punishment, then please sign this petition," writes the petition's creator, Lydia Brown. "This is wrong. This is abuse. It needs to stop."

So far, 53,196 people have signed the petition. Click here to add your signature to the list.

Are you outraged by what happened to Christopher?

 

Image via Conspirator/Flickr

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