The father of an 11-year-old middle school student with special needs made an emotional plea to school officials Tuesday night after video showed his son handcuffed in the back of a patrol car.
Video captured by Abraham Hibbert's father showed the boy in handcuffs in the back of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department squad car, reportedly after the child walked away from his Southern California school.
Trevor Hibbert said his son, Abraham, has autism and special needs. Monday's incident was the third time his child has walked away from school, he said.
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Abraham was found after wandering a mile away from Endeavour Middle School in Lancaster, about 75 miles north of Los Angeles. At a Tuesday school board meeting, the father placed blame on the Lancaster School District.
"The sheriff's department has been outstanding," the father said. "They did a remarkable job, caring for, looking after my son until I was able to arrive on scene. Did what they had to.
"Our children deserve better--not just my son, the special needs students in this district. We as parents deserve truly secure facilities."
By law, trustees could listen but not take action when Hibbert spoke in the public comment period of Tuesday's meeting.
"We are doing everything we need to do to support the child and his family in being successful," Superintendent Michele Bowers said after the meeting. "This is his first year in middle school."
Several audience members learned about Abraham on his father's social media, including an advocate who wishes more could be done.
"I feel bad for the parents," Brian Allen, an educational consultant, said. "There's so much limited resources up here. I feel bad. My heart bleeds for these parents."
Trevor Hibbert said the district has also sent his son to a hospital on a "5150" mental health hold. The district declined to discuss the case in detail.