"I want the laws to change, I want more training, and I want people to understand that they do have rights."
Krystin Polk is a 14-year-old in 8th grade who loves crafting and is an avid reader, reading about 20 books a week.
In 2014, her mother, Krystal got a phone call that Krystin had been arrested at school for disorderly conduct. The School Resource Officer (SRO) told Krystal that Krystin wouldn't calm down and was arrested and taken to the Desoto County detention facility "for her own good."
That day, Krystin wandered away from school, something that was detailed in her Individualized Education Program (IEP). Nearly half of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder wander away from supervised, safe places. When the SRO tried to restrain her to bring her back, she swung at him, a manifestation of her disability described in her IEP. The SRO tackled Krystin, restrained her and she was placed overnight in the detention facility.
"Law enforcement officers are important to me as a parent of a child with special needs because of her wandering or getting lost," says Krystal. "Now she no longer trusts a person in uniform or a law enforcement officer because of what was done to her."
Krystal has been a teacher for 10 years and as a result of Krystin's incident, she advocates for improving training for SROs who work with students with disabilities. She also helps support other parents in IEP meetings.
"I don't want this to happen to anyone else. I want the laws to change, I want more training, and I want people to understand that they do have rights."
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