Online petition protesting alleged abuse of autistic student gai - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Online petition protesting alleged abuse of autistic student gains thousands of signatures

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) –

The alleged abuse of a 9-year-old Kentucky boy who was stuffed in a duffle bag continues to garner national attention.

An online petition created by an autism advocate now has thousands of signatures. 18-year-old student Lydia Brown, says when she heard about the case of Chris Baker, she had to do something.

Sandra Baker says that earlier this month, a teacher at Mercer County Intermediate School stuffed her 9-year-old son in a duffel bag in order to control his autistic behavior.

"It had a hole about this big around left in the top of it. There was no way he could get out of it, could not get his head through if he needed to," said Baker.

After Baker went public about the incident last week, the story gained some national attention. It caught the eye of an 18-year-old autism advocate.

"Unfortunately, that's just more evidence that people aren't really aware of the nature of the problem, what's wrong with restraint and seclusion and what that can do to students," said Lydia Brown.

Boston native Lydia Brown is autistic as well. After hearing about Chris Baker, she launched this online petition on change.org.  Her goal is to urge the Mercer County School Board to either dismiss the teacher involved in the alleged incident, or at the very least, require that person to complete training on how to deal with autistic students.

"Sometimes even if people do believe the student, school administration officials may be reluctant to do something. That seems to be the case right now with what happen to Chris," she said.

In only a few days, more than 11,000 people have signed the petition. Brown hopes Chris Baker's case will draw attention to a problem she says is widespread.       

"Until people treat autistic people as full human beings with equal rights who have the equal right of access and opportunity as anybody else, these things are going to keep happening," said Brown.

Mercer County hasn't said much about the incident. The district says it reviewed the incident, and it's being handled consistently with district policies.

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