Autism is sadly still widely misrepresented. Even though April is autism awareness month, few people actually get enlightened on the subject, as most people who attend awareness meeting are the one who already know what the condition is all about. Still, even though groups are doing their best to explain the conditions, it mostly falls on deaf ears.
Even worse is the fact that not even all paraprofessionals that have to care for these children know exactly how the condition manifests. And there are very few cases where that is as clear as in the case of the paraprofessional who punched 11-year-old autistic kid in the face. The whole thing happened last August, and there were a few developments, so let’s dive into the subject.
Everything started in the school cafeteria, as Anatoly Veltman, then eleven years old, accidentally spilled some ice and threw a napkin on the floor. Milton Parker, an African-American paraprofessional working for the school, approached the boy to scold him. So far, so good. What followed was captured on camera and is now being used in the trial against the city and against Parker.
As Parker approached the autistic kid, young Anatoly issued a racist remark, saying that the table was for whites only. He then proceeded to apologize and at the same time lashed out, punching Parker in the face. Parker immediately retaliated, punching the boy in the face, leaving him with a black eye, a lump, and a concussion.
Additionally, according to the kid’s father, he is now being homeschooled, as he is afraid of going back into school buildings. Parker was arrested and suspended without pay and is awaiting trial, in the meantime having to retire and live off his pension. Still, he refused to apologize for punching the kid.
He claims that he knew he was being filmed, and that it was a reflex after being hit in the first place. He also stated that if he wanted to punch the boy, he would have taken him to another room and beaten the snot out of him.
While some are rooting for Parker in court, as it’s obvious that the kid didn’t have the best upbringing, it’s important to remember that he was working as a paraprofessional. He was supposed to know what he was getting into, and suppressing your anger is vital in that sort of job. Expectedly, Parker was also forced to take some anger management classes.
Meanwhile, the parents of the boy are suing the city for $5 million dollars for letting Parker handle any impaired children, and are even pushing for the city to change its lax regulations regarding the hiring of paraprofessionals. Hopefully, something in the system will change seeing there’s money on the line, and awareness about such conditions will spread a little bit further.
Image source: The Blue Diamond Gallery