The Kentucky mother of an autistic boy who says he was stuffed in a duffel bag by his by his special education aide to for misbehaving in class has pulled her son out of school, and insists if changes aren’t made he’s not going back.
“It’s going to have to change or he’s not going back,”Sandra Baker said.
Baker says she saw her son wiggling inside the bag as she walked toward her son’s classroom on December 14. She was shocked to hear from school officials that it was not the first time Christopher Baker had been put in a bag described as a “therapy bag.”
The drawstring was pulled tight, but there was a small hole at the top of the bag, resembling a green Army duffel bag, she said.
Since then, the case has spurred an online petitiondrive - started by Lydia Brown, an autistic Georgetown University freshman from Boston — has already garnered 157,000 signatures, said Benjamin Joffe-Walt, a spokesman for petition website change.org.
Baker said that although classes resumed today in their central Kentucky school district following the holiday break, she will home-school her 9-year-old son. Baker will not be sending the fourth-grader back to Mercer County Intermediate School in Harrodsburg until the staff is better trained to deal with children with developmental disabilities and the teacher responsible is fired.
“This campaign has resonated with people across the country,”he said. “Without any funding or institutional support, in a matter of days, Lydia built a veritable movement of 150,000 people in all 50 states supporting a family she has never even met.”
The petition mirrors Baker’s demands for comprehensive training for school personnel and dismissal of the teacher. The school’s Interim Superintendent Dennis Davis did not immediately respond to a call and email and last week said he could not discuss personnel matters, citing federal and state confidentiality laws.
“I would like for Christopher to be able to go back,”Baker said. “But until they can get better training, and the teachers get taken care of, I don’t feel like he’s safe.”