9 Year Old Autistic Child Arrested for “Aggravated Battery to a Police Officer”
QUINCY, ILL. – A Quincy mother is upset over the way she said school officials treated her son who has autism during an incident Friday at Baldwin South Intermediate School.
Brandi Kirchner said that her 9-year-old son Roger Parker, Jr. had “a meltdown” during class. School officials sent him to a special area to calm down.
The boy climbed a dividing wall and the school called in a police officer to deal with him, the mother said. In the attempt to pull Roger off the wall, the officer pulled the boy by his arms and legs, causing him to hit his eye on the divider, Kirchner said.
The officer then tried to restrain the boy when Roger swung around and kicked the officer in his nose, Kirchner said.
Kirchner said the officer pulled her son to the floor. He was handcuffed and taken to the police station. She had to go to the station to get her son.
“I asked to see my son. Forty-five minutes later, after they told me he did not need a parent present because he was under arrest and not being interrogated,” she said. “He was fingerprinted, photographed and booked for aggravated battery to a police officer.”
Quincy Public School District interim superintendent Cal Lee said that the school is conducting an investigation. Details of that investigation or the actions taken will not be released to the public.
Kirchner said she is upset because she recently discussed a plan on how to handle her son if he has an outburst. She believes the plan wasn’t followed and she has concerns that police placed her son in handcuffs before she was ever contacted.
“You just can’t handle them like they are a regular gen-ed student,” she said. “They require special attention. And if anybody is going to be in that aspect and dealing with them, they need to have the proper training to deal with them before stepping into the classroom.”
Kirchner removed her son from the Quincy Public School system and is investigating home schooling options.
Brandi said that she plans to request an investigation by the Quincy Police Department.
Tuesday, Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley revealed more details of the case.
Copley says it took several attempts before Officer Bill Calkins restrained Parker and handcuffed him. Copley says Parker’s mother was called immediately after and told to come to the police department.
Parker was taken into custody, but Copley says he was not photographed or finger printed.
“It’s a fine line whether you call it an arrest. He was a juvenile.He was not finger printed. He was not photographed with the mug shot camera. He was not taken into jail. He was taken into custody. He was brought to police headquarters where the appropriate paperwork was filled out so we could forward the reports to the probation department and then he was released to his mother,” Copley said.
Many parents have questioned the actions of the officer against a child with special needs. Copley says Officer Calkins has gone through training to handle similar situations.
“We receive what’s called CIT training, crisis intervention training, which deals with a whole host of behavioral disorders and situations with individuals,” he said. “Certain officers receive more detailed CIT training than others. Our entire department is not trained as CIT officers, however, Officer Calkins, who is the officer we’re talking about is a trained CIT officer.”
The arresting officer remains in his normal duties at Baldwin.
KHQA also reached out to the Quincy School District. Superintendent Cal Lee said he’s continuing to read through witness accounts.
Lee says the school has plans in place for students with special needs, and in many classrooms, teacher assistants called “Star Guides” are also on hand to help. He says there were star guides in the room during Friday’s incident.