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An autistic student in South Carolina was suspended from Hillcrest Middle School after drawing a cartoon picture of a bomb and taking it to school. The student’s mother, Amy Parham, told local Fox station WHNS-TV that her son, Rhett, enjoys the video game Bomber Man and drew a cartoon picture of a bomb based off of the game last weekend. He later brought the picture to school and some older boys reported him to the administration.
(Photo via Fox Carolina)
She said her son has been suspended indefinitely by the school.
When Parham showed up after the incident Rhett was alone in the assistant principal’s office, which bothered her because she said Rhett should have been attended to by someone certified to take care of autistic students.
What upset her more was the fact that the school did not actually think Rhett was a danger. “They actually reiterated to me they knew he was non-violent,” said Parham. “They knew he was not actually having a bomb, creating or making a bomb. But that they could not go without making an example of him and without having some type of action because they were worried about their perception. Perception is actually the word he used. He [a school official] said “Perception is reality, Rhett, and the parents will perceive maybe you have a bomb or you’re violent.”
The Fox station reached out to the school for comment and received a non-response from Greenville County Schools spokesman Oby Lyles saying, “We cannot comment about an individual student. In global terms, a special education student is suspended pending a manifestation hearing which determines if the behavior is due to the student’s disability.”