12-Year-Old Autistic Boy Handcuffed, Arrested for Using Imaginary Gun in School


Everyone agrees that school violence can be a problem… but at what point does diligence become hysteria?

One school in Texas seems to have crossed that line. A 12-year-old boy with autism was just arrested and led out in handcuffs in front of his classmates.

His “crime?” He was playing with an imaginary, make-believe rifle and pointing with his empty hands at others.

“A 12-year-old autistic boy was placed in a Juvenile Detention Center on Monday after brandishing an imaginary rifle at his art teacher,” reported KUTV News.

“The 5th grade teacher reportedly felt threatened by the child, identified as David Sims, who was arrested by a school police officer,” the outlet continued. The incident happened in Conroe ISD north of Houston.

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How hand gestures made by a young boy with autism are “threatening” enough to warrant arrest isn’t clear, but that’s the reason authorities are giving for throwing the kid into handcuffs like a criminal.

“They just said, ‘We don’t tolerate that. We take it as a threat.’ A threat? He didn’t threaten anyone. He didn’t do anything but play,” the boy’s mother, Amy Sims, explained to WTTE-TV.

KPRC News added that the boy was only talking to his friends about BB guns when he made the “threatening” gesture.

To make matters worse, the boy’s autism made it difficult for him to understand what was happening, and his parents were not notified until after he had been placed in police custody.

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“Being put in handcuffs, not knowing what he did wrong, I could have had a talk with him and told him, ‘Look, I know you like to play guns, but you can’t do it in school,’” Sims said.

WTTE reported that after considering the circumstances, authorities will not press charges against the young boy. However, his life will still be seriously impacted by the arrest: He won’t be allowed back in his school, and will be forced to attend a more strict location for students with disciplinary issues.

This is the problem with so-called “zero tolerance” policies: They throw out all common sense, and turn what is obviously normal boyhood play into a punishable offense that can ruin a student’s life.

It’s one thing to send a boisterous kid to the principal’s office or meet with parents to discuss behavioral problems. It is something else entirely when a young boy with autism is hauled away in handcuffs for the equivalent of playing cops and robbers.

For all the talk of a “war on women,” there is something else happening in America: a war on boys.

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Increasingly liberal and feminized schools seem completely incapable of dealing with normal behavior from young males, and have abandoned logic in an extremist attempt to treat tomfoolery as criminality.

Rambunctious boys like David Sims need a firm hand, not handcuffs. This hysteria over imaginary danger has become ridiculous.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.