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A Drawing Of A Bomb Made By A Child With Autism Isn’t Going To Blow Up A School

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shutterstock_129023873__1382041709_142.196.156.251Violence in schools is horrifying. When it happens, we want to feel like there is something we can all do to ensure that it never happens again. Administrators must feel pretty scared and powerless a lot of the time. I think this may cause some of them to overreact in ways that don’t seem very logical to the rest of us. This week brought a perfect example of this kind overreaction. An autistic middle school student was suspended for two days for drawing a picture of a bomb.

Rhett Parham is a fan of the game Bomberman. According to Eve Vawter, it’s an addictive game that everyone loves, including her mother and kids. Parham drew a picture of and old style bomb with a fuse, much like you would see in a Looney Tunes cartoon. It was not realistic. Oh also, it was a drawing. As you can imagine, his mother is outraged:

“They actually reiterated to me they knew he was non-violent,” said Parham. “They knew he was not actually having a bomb, creating or making a bomb. But that they could not go without making an example of him and without having some type of action because they were worried about their perception. Perception is actually the word he used. He, a school official, said ‘Perception is reality, Rhett, and the parents will perceive maybe you have a bomb or you’re violent.’”

The district is responding by basically implying that his mother is fishing for media attention, and that she is not releasing the full details of what went on:

“It is troubling that incomplete and inaccurate information has been shared by the mother about the incident involving her child at Hillcrest Middle School. School districts are prohibited by law from releasing specific student discipline information without parental permission. The district prefers full disclosure of the incident, but the mother has refused our request to allow details about the incident to be released.

The school administration responded appropriately when threatening comments were made, investigated it fully, and acted in accord with applicable laws, policies and procedures to bring this incident to its proper closure.”

Since the mom is not giving permission to release full details, one is left to wonder what those details are. There has to be more to this story, right? Not necessarily.

(photo: cobisimo/ Shutterstock)