My 11.5 yr old is being charged with a felony assault

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Metvan, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Metvan

    Metvan New Member

    Hi there,

    I used to frequent this board quite a bit when my son was younger before the whole switchover. Just to give you a quick refresher....

    My son is 11.5 yrs old. His doctors think he was probably born with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (an offshoot of autism), but at the age of 15 months old, he developed meningitis which left him profoundly deaf. Around 18 months old, I also noticed that his irritability had increased and he started having what I called "rages" at the time, we now call them meltdowns. It took me a while to get anyone to listen to me because they all wanted to chalk it up to the terrible twos. Finally, around age 3, we got a psychologist to listen to us, were routed to a neurologist and he's been on practically every medication made ever since trying to find the right combination. Hasn't happened yet.

    I have homeschooled him off and on because it is so hard to get an appropriate program for him in the public schools. The last several years, he has been in the public schools and up until this past year, he has done "ok."

    Without giving too much information, my son has been in a self contained room (one on one with an aid and a teacher) with mainstreaming in stuff like band, art, PE, lunchtime, etc. We have had frequent meltdowns where he destroyed his classroom, lashed out at his teacher or aid, very rarely at a child. At his last ARD meeting, I begged them to consider placing him in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) because I was worried that he might hurt someone who at some point would press charged against him. Of course they didn't think this was necessary.

    Last Wednesday, he struck his aide and she has decided to press charges. He was taken to the station in handcuffs, fingerprinted and booked and released to our custody. It doesn't look like she will be dropping the charges either so we are now searching for a lawyer and I am scared to death that my son is going to end up in juvenile detention. Despite all his problems and conditions, he has a very sweet heart and has a very innocent view of the world. Putting him in a juvenile detention center will be like throwing him to the wolves.

    I don't know what to do at this point. My husband and myself have been having marital troubles and have been doing everything we can to hold our marriage and ourselves together. I am worried that this will emotionally, financially, spiritually devastate us.

    I am beyond depressed, beyond lost. I must fantasize about taking my own life at least 10 times a day. Seriously fantasize about it where I go from beginning to end and think about every last detail. I would never take my own life of course because it wouldn't be fair to my husband and I couldn't leave my son to fend for himself, but I hate that I think about it as much as I do.

    I'm scared for my little boy. I gave up on my dreams for his future long ago, but this is just the final nail in the coffin of my life.
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    It's beyond thinking that your difficult child, at his age, with all his deficits & such would gain any insight from the juvenile justice system. I'm shaking my head here.

    Will school listen now about the need for Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? Has hospitalization for aggression been suggested to tweak medications? difficult children, at this age are changing quickly & sometimes what has worked in the past doesn't during puberty.

    Ask for a public defender if you cannot afford a lawyer. If necessary ask the court to order a therapeutic Residential Treatment Center (RTC) given difficult child's illness.

    Rattling beads here for you & your entire family.
  3. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    This could work in your favor even though it doesn't look like it right now.
    Make sure that you have the psychiatrist and therapist testify to all his deficits. Make him understand that it is not criminal behavior, but a child with serious other problems. Maybe you can talk the judge into putting him in Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    Also, call a new IEP. Suggest once again that they put him in Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Maybe they will listen this time. Then, maybe the judge will drop the charges beforehand if he is in Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    I can't imagine what you are going through right now. Thank goodness no one ever pressed charges on my difficult child when she wasn't stable. I don't know what I would have done.

  4. Metvan

    Metvan New Member

    Thanks Linda. Thats exactly how we feel. We finally came to terms with the fact that getting him into a residential treatment center might be our last hope for any kind of a future for this kiddo which is why we had requested an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) at the last ARD. I'm hoping that, if nothing else, a judge will consider an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) instead of juvenile incarceration.

    We are currently trying to get him into a hospital for the very reason you mentioned. Also, I want whatever judge is going to be reviewing the case to know that we take this very seriously and want to do what is necessary for our son.

    We don't want a public defender at this point. I want to make sure my son has good representation. We are putting our house on the market (we'd been contemplating this anyway) and if we have to, we will file bankruptcy.
  5. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Find out who his judge is going to be and write her a respectful letter outlining all your son's mental health and physical health problems. Then ask her to please consider sending him to an appropriate Residential Treatment Center (RTC) instead of juvie hall. Ask his doctor to write a brief history to include with your letter. Definately get a lawyer for your son. A public defender is a real lawyer. Make sure the lawyer is aware of all your son's problems. It is possible that since this is a first offence your son will have the charges reduced and get probation only. -RM
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree it would make no sense to have him in Juvenile Detention. Hopefully someone will see the need for an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I'm surprised the aide wouldn't just consider a restraining order.

    Please find some time through all of this to take care of you-it's so vital. There was a time when I became overwhelmed and needed a therapist for a bit-maybe that would help?

    Many hugs and prayers.
  7. Metvan

    Metvan New Member

    We have another ARD today at 1pm. We plan on requesting an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) because what they are proposing now is that he stay in that room the whole time he's there. I am thinking I could argue that an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) could provide a less restrictive environment that is safer for my son and whomever might be working with him.

    I doubt that they will go for that because when I talked to the director of Special Education, she continued to INSIST that they COULD and WERE meeting his needs??? That because he had been showing academic progress and behvioral progress, there was no need to consider an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I informed her that I would not be able to allow him to return to school unless they could assure me that nobody would press charges if he had another meltdown that resulted in anyone being hurt. She said they couldn't ask someone to sign anything to that effect because it was their right to press charges.

    I'm requesting any notes, charting, etc on his behvaior this year because I am flabbergasted at how they can say his behavior has improved. This year has been horrible compared to his last year when he had an amazing teacher and principal.
  8. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    I'm shaking my head as well. I can't understand why an aid, who should be well instructed in your childs educational and developmental needs would press charges???? How was she hurt? Is she doing this to save her job?
  9. lordhelpme

    lordhelpme New Member

    i am so sorry you are going thru this! this is my biggest fear as they have yet to avoid serious meltdowns with-my 6 yr old difficult child.

    {{HUGS}} i hope now he can get the help he needs.
  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I wonder, like Loth, if the school is pushing this charge? I know many school have a zero tolerance policy - as it should be in the mainstream setting.

    difficult child is in a contained classroom for a reason. Apparently school/aide is not doing the job in teaching your difficult child better, more appropriate coping skills for his low frustration tolerance.

    Generally, contained classrooms have "life skills" as part of their day.

    Having said that, while wm is soaking in knowledge academically, he is in no way able to control his aggressions with-o cues & a one on one. He needs constant cues & reminders to stop & think along with redirection.

    Still shaking my head.
  11. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    and it's a Felony assualt as well. What the heck happened? I suspect she must have been seriously injured if the charges are that serious.

    You should definitely get a lawyer and perhaps have another evaluation by the p-doctor, asap, to help with the legal battle ahead.

  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm just shaking my head. Hopefully this will develop into you being able to get some real help for your son.

    Sending warm and gentle ((((hugs)))) and saying prayers.
  13. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    I want you to know I hear you. I can feel the pain in your words. when my son was 13, he was taken into custody for a veiled threat to a teacher.

    it terrified me. I got a lawyer. the charges were reduced from terroristic threats to him being expelled from the school.

    it was the lowest point. I literally laid on the floor in the hallway and sobbed. when he was returned to me, I laid in my room on the edge of the bed so I could watch his room all night. I was so afraid he would once more be taken from me.

    juvenile authorities have seen all kinds of stuff. the system is over crowded with problems. I do believe this will be reduced and perhaps you can take a new path with your child.

    I am so sorry about your marriage. it is so important to have a nurturing partner when things get so bad. someone who can mutally hold us up.

    God be with you and your family.
  14. Wildflower

    Wildflower Active Member

    I'm so sorry that you are going through this right now. Your post struck a cord with me partly because my difficult child is just a year younger than yours and this is something that I worry about with him as well - but mostly because you sound like you are at rock bottom. I dwelled there for a while when my difficult child was little and for a better part of last year due to "life" stuff and I'm very familiar with the feelings you expressed.

    "I am beyond depressed, beyond lost. I must fantasize about taking my own life at least 10 times a day. Seriously fantasize about it where I go from beginning to end and think about every last detail. I would never take my own life of course because it wouldn't be fair to my husband and I couldn't leave my son to fend for himself, but I hate that I think about it as much as I do."

    I know things look bleak right now. But please take some time for you. You need to regenerate. What kinds of things do you enjoy? What is the one thing you'd most like to do that you can take steps towards? I'm thinking that you need a bright spot to focus on that is separate from difficult child-related issues. When my life crumbled around me last year, I started to take walks. I started to do gardening (something I'm miserable at; but it got me outside and focused on something else). I planted over a 100 bulbs last autumn, largely because I wanted to have something to look forward to this spring. I needed to have something to look forward to that wasn't dependent on other people. Frankly, if I didn't have some small pin-pricks of light to focus on - something other than my problems - I don't think I'd be here right now. These battles with - and on behalf of - difficult child take so much out of us as parents and care-givers. It is easy to loose yourself in the mix.

    Please take care of you.
  15. Metvan

    Metvan New Member

    I think she is probably fed up. She's a single mom and I can't say that I blame her in feeling fed up, but what she doesn't know is that we have been TRYING all year to get him into a better placement. The ones she should hold accountable is the school and not us. I'm guessing the school is certainly making her feel supported in this decision if nothing else.
  16. Metvan

    Metvan New Member

    No, the cop said he didn't see any marks on her face, but she complained that it hurt. In Texas, any assault against a teacher or aide is considered an assault against a public servant which is an automatic felony assault.
  17. Metvan

    Metvan New Member

    Thanks, we are doing what we can, but Im currently working quite a bit because my husband has been going to school. There isn't a whole lot of time for me or us. My husband is really supportive and I felt like we were on our way to working things out, I just worry about what strain this will put on our marriage, not to mention having difficult child home 24/7. His time at school was the only time we got to spend together, go to our counseling, etc.

    We are going to focus on individual counseling right now since we can't go to our marital counseling as we have nobody to care for our son while we are gone.

    I'm also planning on starting a class on a subject I've recently become interested in. It's just so hard to find any bright spots right now.

    I can't, for the life of me, figure out why God would have saved him from the meningitis only to give him this life?? I love him more than life itself. Apart from his behavioral issues, he is a sweet kid with a good heart, very compassionate and nurturing, funny and goofy...I just can't think about him going into a juvenile detention center. As a deaf kid, he will be even MORE likely to experience sexual molestation or worse. The TYC in Texas has recently been scandalized for rampant sexual molestation problems, child deaths and neglect, etc. It is going to kill me, literally rob me of my soul if I have to hand my child over to people and not know if he's being properly protected
  18. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    Is there a brain injury support group or even someone you can speak with at NAMI? Have you tried contacting any local disabilities groups? I suspect if you lawyered up with one of their lawyers, it might be of low or no cost at all, since those groups are usually funded by donations and are non-for-profit. I suggest you try that route. This truly saddens me, as did the other case that we recently had in Florida. It makes me fear for my child that if she became unstable at school and something like this happened, I'd be in the same boat as you. This is really heart breaking. I'm sorry.

    Many prayers and hugs!
  19. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending supportive thoughts your way. My post will be quick but
    I do have a couple of important thoughts to share. In our system
    there is a Manifestation Hearing that takes place when a child
    is up for suspension or expel. If that is part of your system I
    think you should insist that it take place just to add to your
    records. (The Principal, 2 teachers, 2 guidance staff and the
    parent gather here for a meeting to ascertain if the action that
    took place was purposeful or if it was a manifestation of the
    students disability.)

    Regarding attorneys...hiring private attorneys does not always
    provide the expected benefit. When our son was 14 we hired an
    attorney that I had worked with as a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem
    some years before. He was caring as well as well qualified BUT
    he did not do much in Juvie court with his practice. As a result
    he did not have a "daily" working relationship with the attorneys
    in the States Attorneys office who worked juvie.

    I suggest that you do alot of deep research on attorneys to see
    who has deep experience on the issues you are facing. Call the
    school board, call the mental health professionals, call NAMI,
    call everyone you can think of and ask for referrals.

    I'll say a prayer for you and your family today. DDD
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    That's mindboggling and scary. This kid has autism!!! My son has the same diagnosis. The aide is supposed to be able to handle him. I can't imagine what she's thinks she's gaining by pressing charges against him. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids tend to be targets for bullying, as they are so naive. Is there a place around for autistic spectrum children? That would be so much better! I'm so sorry.