SAN ANTONIO — Disturbing cellphone video shows a 7-year-old boy with Autism, being taken from a San Antonio school Monday in handcuffs.
We met with the boy's mother, Maria Herrera Arias Tuesday to talk about what happened. Arias said the incident took place at Hirsch Elementary School.
"They're treating him like a criminal, and he's not,” Arias said. “This is a 7-year-old kid."
Arias said her son was diagnosed with Autism and a mood disorder when he was 5.
"Maybe something that's not a big deal to everyone else, is a big deal to him,” Arias said. “He doesn't understand how to calm himself down from that."
Arias said her son had an outburst Monday during class. She claimed the disagreement involved a computer program, but escalated as a result of her son’s mood disorder.
The mother said San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) workers tried calling her and the boy’s father, but misdialed. The cellphone video was taken by the boy’s dad moment later, after he eventually received the message and went to the school. In the video, you can see school district police alongside the young boy in handcuffs, crying.
"No kid should have to be put in handcuffs,” Arias said. “Let alone, a kid that has mental illnesses or disabilities."
We obtained the video Tuesday late in the day. As a result, a spokesperson from SAISD couldn’t confirm the incident or exact details. However, they provided a written statement.
“There are times when children are in crisis, hurting themselves, and need emergency detention – and handcuffing is part of the process, to keep the child safe,” said Leslie Price, a spokesperson from SAISD. “When this happens, they are taken to a hospital for medical attention.”
"This is a trip that could have been avoided,” Arias said. “He didn't have to sit in back of a patrol car, handcuffed like a criminal."
Although the incident hasn’t been confirmed by the school district, Arias hopes others will learn from what happened to her son.
"There should be more resources within the school that say, hey, there's someone on campuses that deals with children specifically with Autism," Arias said.