Autis­tic child was bat­tered, pe­riod

The Palm Beach Post - - OPINION: THE DEBATE STARTS HERE -

Re­gard­ing the ar­ti­cle “Was pun­ish­ing of autis­tic child on bus a crime?” (Sun­day), of course, it was a crime — called bat­tery of another per­son.

The child is autis­tic and autis­tic chil­dren have ac­tions that are within their own sphere of be­hav­ior. Of­ten they can­not con­trol their ac­tions and while they are act­ing out, as per­ceived by oth­ers, they of­ten can­not ab­sorb what oth­ers are try­ing to tell them at that mo­ment.

Squeez­ing a child’s neck, press­ing him into the weight of his body, driv­ing an el­bow into his back sounds like phys­i­cal abuse upon another per­son.

When is it per­mis­si­ble to hurt another, es­pe­cially one who is men­tally in­ca­pable of pro­tect­ing him­self ? The bus aide ad­mit­ted that he caused the child pain. And he was go­ing to in­flict this treat­ment ev­ery time the child got on the bus: pre­med­i­tated abuse.

To sup­port a charge of child abuse, the state must prove that a de­fen­dant in­ten­tion­ally in­flicted phys­i­cal in­jury upon a child. The aide abused the child on the bus and would do it again. Many chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties have ab­nor­mal be­hav­iors. An aide work­ing on a bus needs to learn how to deal with th­ese spe­cial chil­dren in an ap­pro­pri­ate way.

Sounds like the aide needs a course in com­pas­sion or another type of job.

SU­SAN WAG­NER, LAKE WORTH

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