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
  • Police Blotter: July 22, 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.

    July 22, 2014

  • One dead, one seriously injured in crash on Division Road

    A Logansport man was killed and another was seriously injured in a single-vehicle crash Monday on Division Road.

    July 22, 2014

  • NWS-PT072214 Western Wildfires.jpg Local volunteer to help wildfire victims A Flora resident will be among the volunteers helping those affected by the wildfires in Washington State.Pat Rinehart was scheduled to fly out of Indianapolis International Airport Monday afternoon and join fellow American Red Cross volunteers at th

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT072214 Lauren Ray.jpg Logansport graduate makes a go at Hollywood “Instincta,” the latest film by a 2008 Logansport High School graduate, will be screened at the Gen Con Indy Film Festival in Indianapolis in August.It is an action, thriller cop drama short film, starring Logansport native Lauren Zehner Ray, Michael

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDU-PT072314 whitley lehr.jpg School's top honor goes to local grad Whitley Lehr chose Indiana University Kokomo because of its excellent School of Nursing. Receiving the campus’ most prestigious scholarships sealed the deal for each of her. The 18-year-old Delphi student called the Herbert Scholarship “a huge blessi

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT072214-Gwin3-BCM Landis Elementary teacher back from China experience Steve Gwin has hundreds of pictures already on his new laptop, just months after buying it. He spent the month of June in China teaching to kids at two schools and chronicled about each adventure.Gwin teaches first grade at Landis Elementary and got

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Four injured when motorcycles collide Four people were injured Sunday when a motorcycle rear-ended another motorcycle. The accident occurred at 4:06 p.m. Sunday on the ramp from U.S. 35 North at U.S. 24, according to Cass County Sheriff Deputy Brad Craven. Riding a 2012 Harley-Davidson,

    July 21, 2014

  • Police Blotter: July 21, 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.

    July 21, 2014

  • NWS-PT072014 Corn2.jpg Bumper crop? Corn farmers hopeful that good weather lasts Several Cass County corn farmers say they may see record-breaking harvests this fall thanks to “perfect” weather during the spring growing and summer pollination periods.“I think it’s going to be one of the best crops we’ve ever harvested,” southern

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • Monticello puts cardboard to the test MONTICELLO — Lori Abbott has been collecting pieces of cardboard for months now, in anticipation of the Monticello Rotary Club Cardboard Boat Regatta.“After work, I go home and work on the boat,” Abbott said.The second annual cardboard boat race is h

    July 21, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

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.

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Not sure
     View Results