Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Justice For Kayleb Moon Robinson #AliveWhileBlack and Autistic

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Something frightening is happening to autistic Black young men and boys in Virginia. So frightening that I have decided to suspend autism month related activities as a result.
11 year old Autistic Student Kayleb Moon Robinson
Credit: Charlie Archambault for the Center for Public Integrity 

Clearly the case of Reginald Latson was not just a random case. Now, Virginia has convicted an 11 year old autistic boy of a felony for a school infraction. The police officer arresting him piled on extra charges like assaulting a police officer because he "resisted". So now an 11 year old special needs student has a felony conviction.

 Linkhome Middle School staff and administration should be the subject of an Office of Civil Rights complaint for the clear ableism and discrimination of Kayleb based upon the combination of his race and disability, traumatizing him, and causing this catastrophe by sending a police officer to handcuff and arrest him for kicking a waste basket. His IEP should have called for a crisis plan and positive behavioral supports. Upsets and meltdowns in school DO NOT require police intervention. 

The aggressive way Virginia prosecutes and criminalizes black autistic  students needs national attention. Everyone may know the case of Neli Latson but do you know the case of Brian Thompson?

NBC 4's Legendary Pat Collins don's his own outfit to interview
Brian Thompson, who went on to graduate from High School credit NBCWashington
In September of 2011, Brian Thompson, an autistic student at Colonial Forge High School, ran down the sidelines at a school football game wearing a banana costume. He was handcuffed, arrested, and suspended from school. The entire student body protested, some wearing “free Banana Man” T-shirts to class in protest. School officials confiscated the shirts. The injustice of this affair was so blatant that the outcry resulted in his reinstatement in school. Brian does not realize how close he came to being Neli Latson.

Virginia’s attempt to correct human rights violations against disabled people who should not be in its prison system must begin with a serious audit of its school practices when it comes to black autistic male students. Something is terribly wrong with the entire State’s institutional understanding of what autism is, and how to educate and manage autistic children of color.

Virginia and other States have to stop destroying children’s lives in the name of discipline. This is pattern propagating throughout the country. I am waiting for all autism organizations to pause in our “raising awareness” and take a position here. This is the war we should be fighting to save our children's lives. Clearly "raising awareness" has failed in Virginia. Autism and Disability Rights Organizations. NAACP and Civil Rights Organizations. Do Not Remain Silent!

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.

#JusticeForKayleb. #AliveWhileBlack and #Autistic. 

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