POINCIANA, Fla. (WESH) — The Osceola County School District says it is investigating a report of a student with autism being locked in a closet.
The complaint comes from the parent of a 17-year-old and names a teacher’s assistant at Poinciana High School.Advertisement
“He’s sweet, loving, gentle young man, ” Marqwuette Carmichael said.
Like all mothers, Carmichael loves and is protective of her son.
Her son, diagnosed with autism, is a junior at Poinciana High School.
“He loves driving. He’s a great kid,” Carmichael said.
Joined by her attorney, she says her son has always loved school but that changed in February.
Carmichael said a deputy called her to report a staff member at the school had been accused of putting her son in a closet as a way to calm him down.
According to the incident report from the sheriff’s office, the teenager was talking loudly and being disruptive in class, so the teacher’s assistant physically forced him into the closet.
When the teenager tried to get out, the assistant is accused of holding the closet closed even though he was screaming, the report said.
According to witnesses, the 17-year-old was kept there for the remainder of second period until fourth period, which is over an hour.
Carmichael was still trying to take it all in when she learned from the deputy this allegedly was not the first time it’s happened.
“It broke my heart,” Carmichael said.
A representative for the Osceola County school district acknowledged there’s an investigation and told WESH 2 News she expects to know more after spring break.