A 12-year-old Cobb County student is facing felony charges after threatening to burn people and property at his school.
But, he has autism and his family argues that proper protocols for students with disabilities were not followed before the charges were filed.
Student with autism accused of threatening to burn people and property at his school
Jadon Ringland’s family told that he was just repeating what he saw and heard in a video game; repeating phrases is a diagnosed symptom of his disorder, also known as “scripting.”
“We don’t want him to think he’s a bad kid,” said Tovah Ringland. The mother explained that her son has no knowledge of her felony case.
Autism is a developmental disorder that causes physical and verbal behavioral problems.
In Jadon’s case, he experiences a “hyphen,” or formally called Echolalia. Experts often cite scripting as a coping mechanism.
Jadon’s favorite video game is Red Dead Redemption, a game he played with his older brother to join in. Clips posted online show the main character creating what the game calls “fire bottles” out of gasoline and then burning everything in his path.
Tovah Ringland believes there is no doubt that her son was “writing” moments of this video game.
“He said at school, he was going to get a fire bottle, a bottle with gasoline and fire, and he would burn the teachers and the school.”
Emails show the teacher notified Ringland about her son’s comments made in her special education classroom on Jan. 29.
But Ringland told that it wasn’t until Feb. 5 that she received a call explaining that charges were filed.
“They’re supposed to ask him if it’s faked or real. They didn’t do that, they contacted the officer who came in and got him for a time out and then filed charges.”
“I asked him if it was pretend or real, he said it was pretend: a video game.” Again, the Cobb County mother says officials didn’t ask her if she was faking or if it was real.
Now, the hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9, but the family feels this is not a court matter. Ringland argues that if the teacher had followed the BIP, they would have confirmed that Jadon was writing.