Wednesday, January 13, 2010

11-Year-Old Autistic Child Zakhqurey Price Charged with Felony


How does an autistic, cognitively-impaired 11-year-old end up charged with felony assault? This is the story of Zakhqurey Price, who lives and schools in Arkansas with his family.

On October 30 last year, Zakh, according to reports, had a meltdown, resulting in restraining efforts by two school personnel. The adults, allegedly, cornered him and attempted to subdue him. Zakh refused and law enforcement was called in. Minor injuries resulted in the scuffle, but the 11-year-old was thereafter suspended for 12 school days, charged with felony assault, and booked as a juvenile.

For 3 months before the incident, his grandmother, Carole Reynolds, had been requesting an Individual Education Plan (IEP), required by law, to help Zach, who has an IQ of 68 and reads at a 2nd grade level, develop more solidly in school and assuage behavioral concerns. She tried to get things right early on, but was told to wait till school started. "We [had] made requests to receive a copy of his evaluation/assessment results before the October 15th temporary placement IEP meeting and were refused because they said it was not allowed by state law," she is quoted in an Examiner news article. Reynolds also "repeatedly asked for a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), and positive behavior plan with positive behavior strategies," but was unable to secure the requests. Zach was also denied Physical Therapy since, school administrators told her, he could "get around ... just fine." And despite recommendation by a counseling center that Zach be provided a full-time aid, he never got one. At an October 15th meeting with school administrators, "suggestions and guidelines were agreed upon but no formal positive behavior support plan was completed." Two weeks later, their incompetence bore fruit. And though in his IEP it states police intervention would be ruled out, Zach left school grounds in handcuffs.

Read more here: Children in a hostile world - The Daily Voice - Black America's Daily News Source

A few questions I have about this case:

1. Why isn't this getting more media attention?
2. Why did the school enroll Zakh in a special education program without a complete IEP, as required by law?
3. Were the school staff members who cornered Zakh and attempted to restrain him certified and trained to do so?
4. Why did the new school district fail to implement the recommendations of the prior district, such as a full-time aide, to keep Zakh, other students, and staff safe?

Mainstream media has yet to pay attention to Zakh's story, but you can learn more here, here and here. Donate to his legal defense here. Join the Facebook group to support Zakh here.

As the mother of two special needs children, I am outraged at how the school district failed this child... and then pressed charges against him for their failure.



This kind of thing is why I will not let my kids go to public school, until they reach high school. If I were his guardian, I would be filing a lawsuit against the school. I'm sure a number of advocacy groups would be glad to help provide legal council, for such a lawsuit.

The Gonzo Mama said...

It's simply crazy that the media isn't blowing the lid off this.

I hope his grandma is getting the help she needs. You can keep up with her and the case at the Facebook page.