14-year-old autistic boy charged with making terrorist threats over stick figure.

Down in Georgia the officials at the Ridgeview Charter School are having a fit over a stick-figure drawing by a 14-year-old autistic boy which depicts him shooting a teacher:

The sketch shows two stick-figures. One of them is labeled ‘Me’ and is shown shooting a gun at another with a teacher’s name above it.

Karen Finn says that her son, 8th grader Shane Finn, doesn’t understand why he is in trouble. She says the boy is autistic and has the mental capacity of a 3rd grader.

Officials at Ridgeview Charter School say the student will face a tribunal and is being charged with making terrorist threats.

I dunno, maybe I’m stupid, but this seems like an overreaction on the part of the school district. If we’d had such rules back when I was in elementary school I’d have been locked up in solitary confinement years ago for all the stick figure drawings I did of the school being destroyed by tanks and guns and I’m not autistic. I didn’t enjoy school all that much and there was more than one afternoon spent daydreaming of various ways it would meet an untimely end.

I realize “things are different now” but unless there’s some credible reason to think this kid was about to literally grab a gun and start shooting up the school then I’m not sure I see why these charges were even considered. Maybe I’m wrong and he’s just a pencil scratch away from hosing down the school with lead, but based on this news item it sure doesn’t seem like he is.

12 thoughts on “14-year-old autistic boy charged with making terrorist threats over stick figure.

  1. Yeah, had my drawings as a 7-year-old occurred in a school today I’d be shipped off to a Camp X-Ray reeducation gulag so fast it’d make your head spin.

    This is where psychotic degrees of risk aversion and zero-tolerance policies get you. But perhaps, as they say, we should think of the children…

  2. Police state anyone? Or maybe just another excuse to persecute autistics for being different. By the way, wtf is that bit about “having the mental capacity of a third grader”? More like the social anticipation skills, eh, mother? Intelligence and “mental capacity” has nothing to do with that. I’m 21 year old, IQ over 130 and still can’t navigate the social world enough to not get in trouble, because some motherfuckers deliberately set up their rules to confuse people like me. Bunch of racist morons. Most top scientists/inventors were autistic, by the way…
    I bet they wouldn’t make such a fuss about it, had it been a “normal” kid. And I agree about the daydreaming drawings part. Though it really would be nice to once _do something_ about the crappy state of public education, nobody has enough balls to actually set things right.

  3. Why are people wasting any money and time on them? 8th grade with a 3rd grade mental capacity? He will never be a contributing member of society, just a drain to everyone around him for his entire life.

  4. Self Hatred, Moloch? You really shouldn’t have drawn that picture.

  5. As for a tribunal I’m not quite sure if that is what the school is actually intent on doing. But I am for the school looking into the possible anger management of why this child would make such a specific drawing. He obviously has some issues with his teacher. Maybe they need to open a line of communication and attempt to point to the source of the anger, so that it can be dealt with.

    If we read a few years from now that he shot and killed his teacher, and they bring out some stick figures he made several years ago. What would be the reaction ?

    A. Should have known something was going on in the mind of this child and checked it out.

    B. Those stick figure drawings have nothing to do with the pre-mediated first degree murder of the teacher.

  6. Paul. What kid DOESN’T have issues with some of their teachers? Half the kids in my senior highschool class openly talked about beating up and/or killing one or more teachers or administrators. They were never hauled in front of a tribunal and they weren’t counseled about their “issues” with the school or their teachers. To my knowledge, none of those kids ever had problems with the police, much less turned into murderers or terrorists.

    The school didn’t get shot up and those teachers lived normal lives. End of fucking story. This kid drew ONE picture. He doesn’t need to be arrested. He doesn’t need to be “talked to” about how to deal with his anger. He needs to be put back in school and he and his Mom deserve an apology.

  7. Autistic children may have huge difficulties expressing themselves as well as expressing themselves appropriately (it… See More’s one of the hallmarks of the condition) and the drawing could mean almost anything from being upset about being justifiably called out in front of the class for yelling/running in the school hallway to being unreasonably picked on by an unfair teacher or even experiencing sensory overstimulation due to a teacher loudly scolding a different student.

    He should be spoken with about what his issue with the teacher is. It is well documented that special ed kids are often mistreated and improperly/inappropriately punished – it might be that he is upset about some class discipline or similar matter and they should probably investigate it in order to get to the root of the problem.

    Regardless, a “tribunal” is probably not the proper response, unless is is made up of educators who specialize in autism and even then, it sounds pretty suspicious to me.

  8. Found an interesting article about Teachers from Time Magazine
    A new wave of violence is sweeping U.S. classrooms. Much of it is centered in junior high schools, which have long coped with the most combustible years of adolescence. Yet the incidence of burglary, larceny, assault and even murder is rising in all public schools, reports the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. Statistics suggest that more and more teachers are quitting their jobs out of sheer fear of their students.

    Race and Rage. The subcommittee, chaired by Connecticut’s Thomas Dodd, says that Chicago’s teachers were attacked 1,065 times last year—an eight-fold rise in five years. During the same period, student assaults increased by 500% in the Philadelphia school system, which recorded 116 incidents last year. New York City reported 180. In five months, San Francisco’s elementary-school students attacked their teachers 83 times.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,840364-1,00.html#ixzz0oL2PLYLJ

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