The parents of an autistic boy are suing his school for having him arrested last February. Eight-year-old Colton Granito was arrested by police at R.T. Fisher School in Gallatin, Tennessee, after he hit a teacher in the face because he couldn't have a book.
Fox 25 reports that Colton was taken to the police station in handcuffs, after he was restrained and put behind bars at Sumner County Sheriff's Department.
The child has several mental and emotional disorders, and was scared while in jail. He's heard in an audio recording crying for his family and hitting his head against the hard cell wall wanting out.
Hearing the autistic boy in a state of fear and confusion makes his father shed tears over the heartbreaking recording. He recalls how awful it was to see his son in jail.
"Walking in there and seeing him huddled up in that corner and not being able to get him out and the look on his face and to hear that cry right there. As a father, it's hard to listen to."
Colton's parents, Larry and Brittany Granito, tell 41-Team that the school was aware their son was prone to violent outbursts. When authorities restrained him at school during the arrest, he was placed in a straitjacket. The boy's family says he suffered a number of physical and emotional injuries as a result. They accuse the school of violating protocol over how they dealt with the incident. They're suing Sumner County School District and the Sumner County Sheriff's Department for $500,000.
Both the school district and sheriff's department allege they haven't received a lawsuit, and refuse to comment on the 8-year-old boy's case until they receive it.
The Granitos tell 41-Team that the school had a crisis plan to follow whenever Colton had a tantrum or outburst. They already knew he had aggressive behaviors that included hitting and kicking. When the last violent episode occurred, the school had their son arrested and charged with assault. On top of that, he was put in a straightjacket chair for an hour.
Brittany made the audio recording of her son while he in jail, crying and begging to go home with his parents.
"My initial response was devastation," Brittany says.
The autistic child is apparently scared of police, his mother adds.
"He's terrified of police officers. He has to wear Pull-Ups every single night. He has nightmares."
It's listed within the crisis plan that teachers and school staff are to handle Colton's behavioral issues in a more understanding manner, such as redirecting his focus and patiently taking him to a safe area or somewhere for a timeout.
Colton is 9-years-old now, but is on probation. Brittany was forced to quit her job in order to take care of Colton because he's so traumatized.
"There needs to be some accountability. It can happen to any child with special needs."
The autistic boy is now attending another school.