Kayleb Moon-Robinson, a student at Linkhorne Middle School in Lynchburg, Virginia, was arrested by a police officer assigned to the school and charged with disorderly conduct just days after his 11th birthday.
His crime — kicking a trash can in frustration after being scolded for misbehavior at school.
Weeks later, the sixth grader, who has been diagnosed with autism, disobeyed a new rule — one created just for him — that he wait while other kids left class. As a result, the principal sent the same officer after him.
“He grabbed me and tried to take me to the office,” said Kayleb, according to PRI. “I started pushing him away. He slammed me down, and then he handcuffed me.”
Kayleb’s mother, Stacey Doss, is the daughter of a police officer herself, and was outraged. She claims educators did nothing while the cop took her son in handcuffs to juvenile court. The officer filed a second misdemeanor disorderly conduct complaint and also submitted another charge: felony assault on a police officer.
Doss said the officer told her he filed that because Kayleb “fought back.”
“I thought in my mind — Kayleb is 11,” Doss said. “He is autistic. He doesn’t fully understand how to differentiate the roles of certain people.”
To Doss’ shock, a Lynchburg juvenile court judge found Kayleb guilty of all those charges in early April.
Unfortunately, Kayleb’s case is not an isolated one. According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), children across the country, especially minorities, are being pushed into a “school-to-prison pipeline”— with six for every 1,000 students referred to law enforcement as a form of discipline. Special-needs students and students of color are disproportionately represented in these cases.
If Doss appeals and loses, Kayleb’s felony may remain on file forever.