Just before Christmas, the story of a 9-year-old autistic boy from Kentucky began to gain attention both on and offline. The interest was sparked when Christopher Baker’s mother, Sandra Baker, found her son immersed in a bag at school.
“It wasn’t just his body down in it and his head out, his whole body was down inside the bag,” she told WebProNews.
As she explained, the school had called and asked her to come and get her son because he was “bouncing off the walls.” When she arrived and saw what had happened, she was outraged and took the story to local news outlets.
Lydia Brown, an autistic college student at Georgetown University, saw the story and decided to create a petition on Change.org. The petition, which has received over 180,000 signatures already, calls for the school to take action against the teacher involved as well as comprehensive training for all school personnel.
However, as with many viral stories, the Christopher Baker case has generated a fair share of controversy. Some people from the autism community have spoken out in defense of the school saying that therapy bags are often used for treating autistic individuals.
Another debatable issue is in regards to how the bag was used. Christopher’s mother says he was put into the bag for misbehaving, which raises concerns over the use of seclusion and restraint in the treatment of individuals with disabilities.
Amy Dawson, the Founder of the Autism Advocacy & Law Center LLC, told us that seclusion or restraint could be harmful to any child but especially those with disabilities since he or she may not be able to fully understand what is happening.
At this time, the school board has said that it has concluded its investigation and is moving on. Sandra Baker, who now has legal support from The Gallini Group in Alabama and Chevalier Ginn Shirooni & Kruer in Kentucky, is continuing to fight the incident.
How do you feel about this story and its rapid spread? Let us know.