Newtown Shooting Prompts School To Worry if Autistic Student a Threat
Posted Jan 01 2013 12:00am
By Anne Dachel
I have a wonderful friend in North
Augusta, SC, Maurine
Meleck. As many of you know, I spend most my time writing comments on
news reports on autism. It’s frustrating to no end and I’m always happy
to have Maurine adding her viewpoint on these stories. She’s a tireless
advocate for the autism community in addition to caring for her grandson,
Joshua, age 15, who has autism. I talk to Joshua on the phone and he’s
always very intense and has lots of information to share. He’s a great
Maurine recently had this letter to the editor published in the
Augusta (GA) Chronicle.
It was entitled, Don't scapegoat autism. It was about the CT shootings. Maurine warned readers that they shouldn’t
associate autism with dangerous or threatening behavior.
recent events have affected Maurine personally. Because her grandson
likes to have friends, he’s interested in other students. Joshua likes a
girl in his class. He wanted her to know how he felt. He found her
family’s name in the phonebook and started to make calls asking to talk to
her. He made contact with her grandmother and other relatives and finally
her father by calling number after number. This was disconcerting to
these people and they reacted in fear.
wrote to me that Joshua came to school the next day and
was met by the police and the vice-principal.
They were worried that Joshua was a danger to the girl he wanted to be friends
with. The vice-principal called Maurine four times and said that the girl’s
parents were “terrified” because of “what’s been happening in schools.”
Joshua, it was no big deal. The girl was someone he wanted as a
friend. He didn’t understand what was happening. Even though the
police talked to him at school and ordered him to have no contact with the
girl, when he got home he asked when he’d be able to call her again.
is what we’re left to deal with. There is a generation of children with
autism out there who will have to somehow fit in a world that doesn’t recognize
them as anything significant.
all those who claim that it’s all just better diagnosing will be able to
explain how kids like Joshua are going to survive with the police showing up at
their school, telling them they can’t have any contact with other students
because they’re a threat to them.