Mother calling for changes after 10-year-old son with autism arrested in school

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OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida mother is calling on her son’s school district and the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office to make changes after her child was arrested at school.

10-year-old John Haygood was back in class on Wednesday after he was suspended for punching and kicking a teacher in October.

However, he was taken out of class and into custody by sheriff’s deputies for the juvenile version of a warrant for battery on a school employee.

“When he was saying, ‘I don’t understand, mama. I don’t understand. What’s going on?’ That broke my heart,” Luanne Haygood, John’s mother, told WPTV.

The boy was held at a juvenile facility overnight before he was released to his mother on Thursday morning.

Haygood says her son is on the autism spectrum, which has caused him to have several behavioral issues in the past.

Now, she is asking that law enforcement and the school district work to create a plan for students with special needs.

The sheriff’s office and the State Attorney’s Office told WPTV that they did not know the 10-year-old is on the autism spectrum, adding that they will take that into consideration when they decide how to proceed.

The school district said they could not comment on specific cases, but says they wouldn’t “invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest.”

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