CBS News reported yesterday that Tates Creek Middle School’s school district released footage showing Thatcher Grayson being dragged through the hallway by two staff members alongside his service dog. ABC News would later specify that the two staff members depicted in the surveillance video where his teacher and the school nurse, and that he was dragged up a flight of stairs during the process.
According to the Mirror, the incident first came to the attention of Thatcher’s mother, Jo Grayson, when she received a text from his teacher which read: “The nurse and I had to physically help him get up off the floor” followed by “He wouldn’t move and the other kids were trying to play. I apologize if he has marks on him.”
Thatcher Grayson is an eleven year old with nonverbal autism, and could not tell his mother what happened at school that day. Instead when Jo Grayson went to help her son change his pajamas she saw that the numerous bruises and cuts on Thatcher’s body were a lot worse than the “marks” his teacher had spoke about in her previous text.
Jo Grayson immediately took action by heading to the school the next morning to demand answers, and contacting a lawyer to proceed with legal measures. The school has already confirmed that the teacher in question is no longer employed there, but maintains that this was an “isolated incident” and that “our training is very explicit that physical restraint is a last resort only used when a student is a danger to themselves or others.”
As supporters of National Bullying Prevention Month, the American Autism Association would like to bring you a remind parents about the importance of remaining vigilant over your children and being prepared to take action. Thatcher Grayson’s awful mistreatment at the hands of both his teacher and the school nurse highlight how bullying is not restricted to foul play between peers.
It’s essential that we recognize bullying and mistreatment in all of its forms. All children deserve to be treated with proper respect, and its important for us to step in when we recognize that this respect is not being given to them, whether it be from their peers or even authority figures. Jo Grayson’s recognition of her son’s position, willingness to push for answers, and courage to act stands as a shining example of the mentality that is needed to prevent bullying.