Autistic child taken from school in handcuffs

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COEUR D’ALENE — A Ponderay mom was left outraged when school officials ordered her autistic 8-year-old daughter handcuffed and taken from the school in a police car.

Outside her Ponderay home, 8-year-old Evelyn Towry, in her pink boots and favorite sweatshirt explains why she’s now suspended from school.

“Because I was trying to leave and they hold me down,” Evelyn said.

Evelyn is a third grader at Kootenai Elementary and has Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism. On Friday she started to act out.

“She wanted to attend a Christmas party in her cow sweatshirt and they told her she couldn’t that she would have to tuck the tail in and put ears down and she dug her heels in the way she does quite often and said she wouldn’t take it off,” Evelyn’s mom Spring said.

Spring says that when Evelyn tried to leave anyway two teachers restrained her, which is when Evelyn began kicking, pinching and spitting on the teachers.

“Well, I kicked because I was upset they were holding me down and I got thumb bruises on me,” Evelyn said.

School officials then called the police and Evelyn’s mom. When Spring got to school to pick her daughter up police were already escorting Evelyn in handcuffs out of the building and into a police cruiser. Police then took her to a local juvenile detention center where she stayed for an hour, after which she was allowed to go home.

“I was terrified and I was scared and I was hurt and I wanted to throw up. I wanted to take my baby with me,” Spring said.

School officials responded to a request for an interview for this story by e-mail, with the district superintendent saying they followed a specific safety plan for Evelyn which was agreed upon by the district and her mental health provider.

The plan, according to the district, says that “If a student assaults staff it is appropriate to call parents, involved support agencies, and local law enforcement officials if needed. All of the above occurred regarding this unfortunate incident.”

“I never saw the plan, I never signed the plan,” Spring said.

On Tuesday morning the Bonner County prosecutor charged Evelyn with one count of battery.

By Tuesday afternoon the charge was dropped.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. She doesn’t even know what battery is,” Spring said.

Spring Towry and her husband are now pursuing civil action. While they don’t excuse their daughter’s behavior Spring says it didn’t have to go this far.

“I don’t want this to happen to another child or another parent,” she said.


One thought on “Autistic child taken from school in handcuffs

  1. Big Bear says:

    I grew up in Coeur d’Alene. The public school system was so bad back then that my parents had me in a private school. When high school came around, I commuted to Spokane to avoid the local high school.

    Guess things haven’t changed much. I always remember that the dumbest, most ineffectual teachers in the CDA public schools got promoted to administrative positions. Then, after retiring, some would seek political office. Ugh.

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