LANCASTER (CBSLA) — An 11-year old boy with autism ended up handcuffed in the back of a patrol car after his father said a Lancaster middle school allowed the boy to run away.
The incident happened Monday afternoon at Endeavor Middle School, where Abraham Hibbert is a student. His father, Trevor Hibbert, said Abraham had a meltdown and fled the campus.
“Apparently he kicked somebody who was a staff member, and then was able to leave the campus and get almost a mile away,” Hibbert said.
Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department found Abraham and were able to keep the child safe until his father arrived. Hibbert said he was not upset with deputies for putting his son in handcuffs, but said he blames school officials for not properly providing for Abraham’s needs and providing a secure campus.
“Whether that was at the direction at the administration, I have no idea,” Hibbert said. “I only know that the officers on scene understood autism, cared for him, looked after him until I got there.”
He said this is the third time his son was able to run away. After one such incident, Hibbert said his son was strapped to a gurney and forcibly taken to a hospital by ambulance for an involuntary psychiatric hold.
Hibbert said he’s now speaking out and sharing video of what happened to his son on behalf of his son and all of the other kids in the district who have special needs — he even went to Tuesday’s school board meeting to address its members directly.
“I’m calling you out,” he said. “Our children deserve better.”
At the end of the meeting, Lancaster School District Superintendent Michele Bowers said the district has done everything to provide for Abraham and will try to work with his family.
“While we are completely committed to his safety and his education, we are also very mindful of the safety of our staff,” she said. “So we’re trying to balance all of that out and make sure that everyone is doing what they need to do.”
Hibbert said he had not heard back from the school district or school officials yet and was considering legal action.