A shocking and disturbing incident has recently come to light, where a 17-year-old nonverbal autistic student attending Clark High School was allegedly targeted in an anti-semitic attack.
The Department of Education received a due process complaint from a Jewish organization on behalf of the young boy who is also Autistic, accusing the Clark County School District of failing to provide a safe environment for their student.
What happened based on multiple sources
What happened based on multiple sources, including the police report, is that upon returning home from school on March 9th, the student had scratches of a swastika symbol on his skin. The boy’s service dog’s bag was also damaged and was later found to have been re-sewn.
On his back was the hate symbol, which was also physically carved. Zipporah Reich, director of litigation at The Lawfare Project, a New York-based Jewish civil and human rights organization, strongly condemned this act as a reminder of the prevalent issue of anti-semitism in our society. She also highlighted the school district’s failure to properly investigate the incident, which shows a systemic indifference towards targeting Jews in hate crimes.
Safety of all students
Student’s lawyer Hillary Freeman added that it’s high time that the CCSD took responsibility and implemented measures to ensure the safety of all students and provide them with equal opportunities in education.
The other part of the filed complaint focused on the student’s academic struggles in reading, writing, and math. Upon review, the proposed IEP for the boy was found to be unsatisfactory as it lacked any significant goals that would support the student’s academic progress, functional communication, and behavior.
In fact, many of the listed goals appeared to only aim at maintaining previously achieved skills rather than advancing towards new academic heights. The federal law mandates to provide students with special needs a “free and suitable public education”. Yet, due to negligence by the district, the student’s rights were not met.
The boy is still receiving home instruction
The petitioners appealed for the student’s right to receive home instruction until a suitable program could be identified. The boy is still receiving home instruction, now 18 years old.
What’s most concerning is that the district failed to conduct a full reevaluation of the student’s needs, relying instead on outdated information and input from professionals who had little understanding of his situation. When questioned about this during the Eligibility Meeting, the district directed the parents to file a due process petition if they disagreed with the results of the assessments.
The CCSD Police Department launched an investigation into a reported swastika attack on March 13, which was subsequently closed on March 31. Their report, stated that after reviewing security camera footage from Clark, they found no evidence of anyone making contact with the boy or any suspicious activity involving him. The report also included statements from a teacher and teacher’s assistant who claimed that there were no unusual issues with the boy that day and that the assistant had been with him throughout the entire day.
Autism Awareness & Advocacy
The rights of Autistic students & those with special needs are continuously neglected, which is why advocating for their rights in the educational system is crucial. Regrettably, numerous children with Autism confront obstacles while trying to obtain an appropriate education and might not receive the required support and resources to reach their full potential.
This is why we at Nevada Autism Center stand for advocacy and effective treatment for children with autism. Our goal is to deliver evidence-based treatment as we support children with autism including their families.