Hi! I have a 10 yr old son with ASD. He is in the 5th grade and has been going to the same school since kindergarten. He is high functioning and very bright. All the adults that meet him are charmed as he is not shy, talks a lot and is very friendly. He does have problem with making friends his age and is very awkward socially. Case in point, he's been in that school for six years and not once has he been invited to a classmate's bday or playdate.
But he is a generally happy kid, just playing on his video games --- not violent ones, Super Mario, Angry Birds, Mindcraft -- those kinds.
He is also starting to get aware of social issues. He has opinions on issues on racism and the like, and as prevalent these days, the mass shootings -- in particular, the school shootings. He has expressed how he is afraid something like that may happen at his school. The day after the Parkland shooting, he woke up to his dad watching the news about that tragedy. On the drive to school he said if that happened at his school, he would probably scream his head off. Of course I told him not to do that but instead hit the ground and not to call attention to himself. Hide if you can but avoid making any noise.
When I came to pick him up, he was at the Vice-Principal's office with his Speech teacher and the School Psychologist. He was crying and was obviously very upset. I was told that he was showing a classmate a meme on the computer and said 'this would be me if there was a school shooting'. The meme showed the picture of a dog who was trapped in a burning house. Each frame showing it getting more and more agitated until eventually melting in the fire. This got the attention of the teacher who contacted the psychologist and then everyone descended on him. I initially thought he showed some grotesque pictures or something. Apparently, the teacher heard 'school shooting' and that was it. It was like my kid committed a crime or something. Never mind that he was expressing HIS OWN panic if that event happened at his school. I was called in the next day to conference with the principal about the same incident. For this he was written up and was given punishment. I am told he was being INAPPROPRIATE. When I asked how the school is handling all these news stories about the horrible incident in Parkland and all the other school shootings, I was told that they DON'T TALK ABOUT IT. It's like the elephant in the room and that anyone mentioning shootings or guns or anything connected to it will be punished, no matter what the context. No one in that school believes that my son has any aggressive bone in his body. He is the sweetest of kids. But just coz he expressed his own fear, he was called in, being made to feel like he was a bad person and reprimanded.
It happened again today. I am told that he got another write up because he was drawing (stick figures) where two people were having a duel --- one had a sword and the other had a gun. The teacher saw the drawing and he was immediately reported again to the psychologist and the Vice-Principal. He was again written up and I am told he will not be able to go to recess and IS TO READ AN ARTICLE ABOUT GUNS! When I came home, he was so reluctant to come to me thinking he did something awful. Usually when I came home, he would be running to the door like a puppy to give me a kiss. After a lot of prodding, I finally got him to tell me what happened and why he is being punished. I am so baffled with this reaction from everyone at his school. Never mind that my kid is totally non-aggressive.
I know that school shootings are a serious issue in this country. I get that. But the way this is being handled is really upsetting to my son and I am close to just pulling him out of school. I think to myself: little girls play house and dolls; boys play with cars and guns. Am I wrong? Aren't NERF still being sold as a toy? Sure the toys are much sophisticated now in this generation, but isn't that what typical boys play? My son was actually working on a sequence he wanted to do a scene on a video game, nothing remotely close to anything menacing.
Am I being too sensitive? I don't appreciate how this school is making him into something he is not. That his innocent actions are being made into something more sinister. Like putting words into his mouth. And his punishment is to have him read up about guns? I just don't get it! What would be next? He would be suspended coz he made an L of his hand and be accused of finger-shooting at someone???
BTW, I am totally for gun control. There is no way my son would have access to a gun. My husband works security and even he doesn't have one (I had him get rid of his gun when I was pregnant). I don't like them and I won't live in a house with one.
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