End the Prosecution Against Kayleb: An autistic 6th grader unfairly charged with a felony
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Kayleb Moon-Robinson is a 6th grader in Virginia on the autism spectrum. During what was a difficult day for him, he kicked a trashcan at his middle school. A school resource officer saw him and filed a disorderly conduct charge in juvenile court against the then 11-year-old boy.
Two weeks later, Kayleb was told to wait while other kids left class but disobeyed. When the same officer grabbed Kayleb to bring him to the principal's office, Kayleb says he tried to push away but the officer "slammed me down and then handcuffed me." The officer then charged him with felony assault against a police officer and another charge of disorderly conduct.
Unbelievably, this autistic 6th grader is being prosecuted for both disorderly conduct and felony assault on a police officer.
Kayleb is a small boy who wears glasses and posed no real threat to the officer. He does not belong in the juvenile justice system just because he has a disability. That's why Virginia Governor McAuliffe and the state of Virginia must end the unfair prosecution against Kayleb -- otherwise this felony will negatively impact his ability to obtain jobs, housing, and other opportunities in his future. For a 6th grader with autism, that's just unfair.
I am a mother, and I'm also autistic -- as are two of my children. I have other children with disabilities as well. Young people who are on the autism spectrum can have difficulty differentiating the roles of certain people, like police, from others. That doesn't make them criminals.
Nationally, schools disproportionately punish and refer disabled students and students of color to law enforcement. Kayleb is both autistic and black. And according to the Center for Public Integrity in just one year Virginia schools refer students to law enforcement agencies at a rate nearly three times the national rate -- higher than any other state in the country.
Please sign my petition asking Virginia Governor McAuliffe to end the prosecution against Kayleb. He needs support, not a record.
Morenike Giwa Onaiwu and Lei Wiley Mydske, petitioners
(Photo credit: Charlie Archambault/Center for Public Integrity)
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