David Sims, a 12-year-old boy with autism, was led away in handcuffs after pointing an imaginary gun at his art teacher. His mom, Amy Sims, says it’s discrimination.
“Because he’s disabled, they automatically think he’s got something mental, so he might go shoot up a school,” Amy told Fox 11.
The incident occurred in Conroe, Texas, at Bozman Intermediate school, which is part of the Conroe Independent School District (CISD).
Apparently, David made a “verbal threat” before pointing an imaginary gun at his teacher. The teacher felt threatened, and a police officer for the district was summoned. David was then handcuffed and sent to the Juvenile Detention Center, where he remained for a little over two hours.
Amy says she wasn’t notified of the incident until her son was already in custody. She’s frustrated that she wasn’t able to talk with him and tell him that that type of play was inappropriate at school before such drastic measures were taken.
“Being put in handcuffs not knowing what he did wrong?” Amy says. “I could’ve had a talk with him to tell him, ‘Look, you know, I know you like “playing guns” but you can’t do it in school.'”
In addition to being on the spectrum, his mom says David has oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), which includes emotional and behavioral symptoms including irritable or angry moods, argumentative and defiant behavior, vindictiveness, and arguing with authority figures. David is in treatment and on medication for it.
Amy requested that David be moved to special classes that better suit his needs on several occasions, but he is still in the mainstream classes.
He has had disciplinary issues at the school before. One small incident involved him defending himself and a friend who were being bullied. However, another unrelated incident was rather alarming, and resulted in David getting suspended. According to Amy, David created a list of classmates’ names along with a manner of death for each of them after watching the movie “Death Note” without her knowledge. He was suspended, and then evaluated at the hospital, where they found he had no intention of actually hurting anyone.
“They asked him, ‘Do you want to hurt these kids?'” Amy told the Houston Chronicle. “He said, ‘No, I just don’t like them; they are bullying me and the teachers won’t do anything.'”
J.D. Lambright, Montgomery County Attorney, thinks that criminal charges won’t be pressed against David for the imaginary gun incident. He does say that, since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February, they have seen an uptick in this type of behavior across the county, which has six school districts.
“After the Florida incident, we were getting two a day, three a day, and it wasn’t isolated to any particular school,” he says.
David will have to attend an alternative disciplinary school for the remainder of the semester.
The school district couldn’t speak specifically to the imaginary gun incident, but they did issue a statement about their process for handling any threat. It read:
“Any actions or statements that are threatening in nature are taken seriously. Campus administrators work with Conroe ISD Police to investigate and address all matters in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and the laws of the State of Texas. Actions or statements containing specific elements are responded to in a manner that will initiate access to the appropriate support resources, and situations involving students with special needs are responded to with consideration for each unique need. Conroe ISD administrators along with the Conroe ISD Police Department do everything possible to make Conroe ISD a safe place for all of our employees and students.”
Learn more in the video below.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.