Does your child's school really understand the autistic mind?
It was well known that Trevor had autism, since he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and got special accommodations in the school. Trevor had spoken with Marcus Rhodes, the school police officer at his Myrtle Beach high school many times. But Rhodes did not understand how those with autism think or act. He was never trained according to Trevor's parents.
And the school had severely cut back on supervision of their son without telling the parents. So when Trevor brought a bayonet into his office he shot Trevor five times at close range.
Do you want police stationed in your child's high school without proper training interacting with your autistic children?
Does it make sense for a police officer to be stationed in a high school with a loaded gun and have to deal with special needs kids without a full understanding of how they act? Should police officers who are stationed in a high school shoot five times at close range to stop a 16 year old with a knife? A student who does not communicate well and has communication issues?
Bullying Appears to be the Root Cause
Trevor's parents did not know their son was being bullied. But at his funeral, many students told Karen, Trevor's mom that Trevor has been constantly bullied. But the school apparently did nothing about it. And never informed Karen or Tom Varinecz.
Many children with autism will not turn to their parents or anyone else for help if they are bullied. This is, unfortunately a common pattern. I have advised parents repeatedly to ask their children to tell them if they are being taunted, hit or called names at school. Most kids will not tell their parents or ask for help because they do not believe it will help…or they fear it may make things worse.
If you have a school age child with autism, ASK them if they are being picked on or bullied. And follow up with the school to make sure the school is aware of it and that it stops. Prevent tragedy before it occurs.
For extensive reporting of this event and videos from local TV stations as well as my personal interview with Trevor's mom, Karen Varinecz, see my newsletter, Autistic Teen Shot to Death in School.