A Florida mother is demanding answers after her 10-year-old autistic son was hauled away from school in handcuffs Wednesday — and had no idea why.
Luanne Haygood recorded video of her son John Benji Haygood being arrested and handcuffed at his school in Okeechobee County. According to WPTV 5, the little boy had just returned to school after being suspended in November for kicking a teacher. Haygood had no idea there was a warrant for her son’s arrest, and questioned in an interview with the news station why no one contacted her or came to her home.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office served the boy with a “juvenile version” of a warrant for the November incident. He is charged with battery on a school employee, which is a third-degree felony.
“When he was saying, ‘I don’t understand mama, I don’t understand. What’s going on’? That broke my heart,” the mom told the news station.
Haygood admitted that her son had exhibited behavioral problems in the past, but said it was a result of his condition. She can be heard telling officers that he is autistic as the boy is being handcuffed.
The school district claimed not to know the boy was autistic, but when WPTV asked how and why that information was not given to them, the station got no response. The State Attorney’s Office reportedly said that they would take the boy’s special needs into consideration.
John Benji spend the night at a juvenile facility on Fort Pierce before being released to his mother on Thursday.