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Autistic Child Charged with Battery for Hitting Teacher

A second-grade special education teacher was allegedly hit in the face by a student with autism in her class when she removed his iPad from his possession and he became upset. The teacher has filed battery charges against the child in response to the incident.

DJ, an 8-year-old boy who suffers from autism, is a student in the second grade at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School located in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Autism is defined as a condition which can present itself in a multitude of ways affecting social skills, communication, and behavior. The varying symptoms and manifestations of those with autism have been linked to “different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that as many as 1 out of every 68 children in America are diagnosed with autism.

While DJ was in class on March 6 using his iPad his teacher, who has not been named, reportedly snatched it from his hands. The boy became upset and allegedly swung at the teacher’s face making an impact which she stated had left a bruise on her nose.

The teacher, who believes that she should not have to accept that kind of behavior from students, notified the authorities and filed a police report following the incident. She also alleged she has been subject to this type of conduct more than once.

The report has led to battery charges against the child.

His mother, Maria McKay, stated that she was not told about the police report until she was notified by a juvenile detention officer informing her that her son had missed a scheduled meeting regarding the charges.

DJ’s probation hearing is being held in May. In addition, the boy was suspended from school and his privileges to take part in the after-school program have been revoked.

McKay said that the public school system should have dealt with the situation in a more suitable manner and she feels that the teacher lacks the proper skills needed to work with her child. She has decided that she will not allow her son to go back to the school unless he is assigned a new teacher.

McKay also stated that she does not believe her son was right in his actions but the way he responded was not out of the norm for the way his autism presents when he becomes overwhelmed.

Rio Ranch Public Schools stated that they were not involved in filing the police report, but that it is within the rights of the individual to press charges if they choose.

If you or someone you love is suspected of battery, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.

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