Kayleb Moon-Robinson was 11 years old last fall when he was charged with disorderly conduct for kicking a trash can at his Virginia middle school. A few weeks later, the autistic sixth-grader tried to leave class with fellow students instead of waiting, as ordered. The same police officer grabbed the boy, who struggled to get away.
Kayleb was handcuffed and taken to juvenile court, where he was charged with a second disorderly conduct misdemeanor and felony assault on a police officer.
Virginia students are arrested in school at three times the national average, according to the Center for Public Integrity. The report ranks all the states on law-enforcement referrals.
Many of those arrested are middle-school students 11 to 14 charged with disorderly conduct.
. . . a 12-year-old girl was charged earlier this year with four misdemeanors — including obstruction of justice — or “clenching her fist” at a school cop who intervened in a school fight.
In Green County, Virginia, last October, a school cop handcuffed a 4-year-old who was throwing blocks and kicking at teachers and drove him to a sheriff’s department.
Stacey Doss, Kayleb’s mother and the daughter of a police officer herself, said her son “doesn’t fully understand how to differentiate the roles of certain people.”
She refused a plea deal reducing the felony to a misdemeanor because it required the 11-year-old to serve time in a detention center. Kayleb was found guilty of all charges this month. He’ll return to court in June for sentencing.
Doss said the judge had a deputy show him a cell, and told him if he gets into trouble again he could go straight to youth detention.
“He said that Kayleb had been handled with kid gloves. And that he understood that Kayleb had special needs, but that he needed to ‘man up,’ that he needed to behave better,” Doss said. “And that he needed to start controlling himself or that eventually they would start controlling him.”
Kayleb now attends an alternative school that’s sensitive to the autistic boy’s difficulty with sudden changes in routine, Doss said.