Local News

March 3, 2013

Police charge 7-year-old with battery

Mother says autistic son was provoked into hitting his teacher.

LOGANSPORT — Police charged a 7-year-old with battery Wednesday after he punched a teacher in the nose.

The kindergarten student at Franklin Elementary School with a history of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism and psychosis was suspended from school after the incident.

“We had a teacher that was struck in the nose by a student,” said Franklin principal Hayley LaDow. “A police report was filed. That police report has been turned over by the police to the prosecuting attorney and that prosecuting attorney is the one that determines whether charges will be filed.”

Brandi Velasquez, the child’s mother, said a meeting Friday with administrators “didn’t get much accomplished.”

“We have to wait for the case conference,” said Velasquez, which is scheduled for March 13. Until then, she said, her son will remain at home.

“They offered to do homebound services, but he would do schoolwork for two hours a week,” Velasquez said. “Are you kidding me? Two hours?”

“I told them he’s not returning back to Franklin,” she added.

She also plans to pull another child out of the school.

“It’s not OK he hit somebody,” emphasized Velasquez.

But she questioned why the school filed a report against the boy, leading to the battery charge.

LaDow referred to policies in place at Franklin that are followed with regards to all students.

The boy had been diagnosed with autism at 2 years old by an Indianapolis neurologist, said Velasquez. He functions at the level of a 4-year-old, she said. “When he does something, he doesn’t realize it’s wrong.”

At school, she added, he does not have an autism diagnosis for academic purposes — something she’s tried multiple times to change.

“I’ve gotten denied four times for the testing,” said Velasquez.

She and an advocate requested testing again recently and it’s under way, she said. It’s scheduled to be finished by the case conference this month.

School administrators declined to comment specifically on the student, citing federal student privacy laws.

However, Superintendent Michele Starkey said the school’s goal is “to keep kids in school and educated.”

“Believe me, the last thing we want to do is suspend them,” she said.

If a student becomes unruly in the classroom, school administrators typically follow regular discipline rules, but look for a deeper reason triggering a student’s misbehavior, Starkey said.

Velasquez said her son has an autism disorder, ADHD and obsessional defiant disorder. He’s also audio-schizophrenic, she said — “he doesn’t see things. He has audio-schizophrenia, so he hears things.” He receives counseling regularly from Four County Counseling Center, she said.

A letter from Harsha Behavioral Center, where the child was admitted for a total of 23 days in January and February, certifies that he was admitted for increased aggression, poor safety awareness and psychosis, and assigned diagnoses of ADHD and autistic disorder.

The letter, provided by Velasquez, strongly recommended the child be educated in a classroom with few peers and under one-to-one supervision.

It stated the child can’t be successful if he’s in an over-stimulating environment for long periods of time and had the best results with one-to-one support throughout the day.

“He’s just thrown into a regular kindergarten class right now,” said Velasquez. She said she has requested and been denied one-on-one instruction for her son.

The boy has escaped from school grounds before, she said, and at other times has gotten aggressive. The school has a special code for him, she said, “Code Bulldog.” However, she added that Wednesday was the first time he’s hit a staff member.

School officials declined to comment on the boy’s behavior, again citing federal privacy laws.

“I’m bound by law not to give out confidential information,” LaDow said.

The problem Wednesday, said Velasquez, started when staffers deviated from the boy’s care plan.

“When he got upset they were to leave him alone and not go near him,” said Velasquez. “They did not follow the procedure that was put in place.”

Instead, a teacher took the child’s arm to pull him up from the floor, where he was on his back and kicking.

He “doesn’t like to be touched,” Velasquez said. A teacher “provoked him and then [the boy] punched her and now [he] has battery charges.”

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at or 574-732-5151.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS-PT041814 LC50 cords.jpg 50 years later WALTON -- Dean "D.A." Zehring graduated from the current Lewis Cass High School, but he never attended classes there. It's one of the unique characteristics of the graduating class of 1968, the first class to complete all four years of high school un

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Caston considers Logan bus stop FULTON -- Caston Schools administrators are considering establishing a bus stop a few miles outside its boundaries on the north side of Logansport. The school board recently discussed the feasibility of adding a bus stop for students transferring fro

    April 18, 2014

  • mushroom Parks let mushroom hunters forage off-trail INDIANAPOLIS - Rain that pounded Brown County State Park in early April dampened the number of hikers and mountain bikers in Indiana's largest state park, but foragers of the property's 15,000 acres of forest welcomed the weather. With the arrival o

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police blotter: April 17, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT041714 G.jpg Sign of support: Class meant to connect hearing-impaired family members Jordanna Dishner-Rush gestured forcefully to a coat rack hanging in the back of the meeting room at the Logansport Library. She was trying to use just hand motions — no speech — to get the other women to guess the secret word she'd been given. Dishne

    April 17, 2014 12 Photos

  • Logansport graduation rate rises again Logansport High School's graduation rate jumped almost 2 percentage points to 92.9 percent in 2013, data released Wednesday show. The Indiana Department of Education released graduation data for the 2012-2013 school year Wednesday. The data show that

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT041714 Mustangs.jpg Local dealer celebrates the Mustang Fifty years ago today, the Ford Mustang was introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair. Now, six of them will be on display for the next few weeks at Rick's Auto Sales in Logansport celebrating what the business owner says is a half centur

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Redevelopment commission proposes new TIF expansion The Logansport Redevelopment Commission is now considering including land surrounding Water Street in a proposed consolidation of the city's tax increment financing districts. A tax increment financing, or TIF, district, captures the increments of an

    April 17, 2014

  • Bids under budget for Carroll project FLORA -- Bids came in under budget for a two-year construction project set to start this summer at Carroll Consolidated Schools. Fourteen construction bids chosen at the Carroll school board's meeting Tuesday night added up to $7,283,628, well under

    April 17, 2014

  • Bunker Hill parents charged with neglect BUNKER HILL — A month-long investigation by Indiana State Police Detective Mike Tarrh recently resulted in the arrests of Richard Avery Jr., 30, and Heather Avery, 28, both of Bunker Hill. Police say they received information from the Miami County Di

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

Should e-cigarette marketing be regulated like tobacco?

     View Results