Suspension of SC autistic student who drew bomb lifted - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Suspension of SC autistic student who drew bomb lifted

A photo of the bomb Parham's son drew. (Oct. 14, 2013/FOX Carolina & Amy Parham) A photo of the bomb Parham's son drew. (Oct. 14, 2013/FOX Carolina & Amy Parham)
Rhett Parham and his mom Amy. (Oct. 14, 2013/FOX Carolina) Rhett Parham and his mom Amy. (Oct. 14, 2013/FOX Carolina)

The suspension of an Upstate student who brought a drawing of a bomb to school has been lifted.

The child's mother said on Wednesday that the suspension of her son, who has special needs, had been lifted after a manifestation hearing. The hearing was to determine if the incident was linked to his disability. 

Amy Parham, the boy's mother, said the school determined the episode was connected to the child's disability. School officials and a student advocate, who is an expert in autism, attended the two hour meeting.

"They did not suspend Rhett and they did not recommend expulsion," Parham said about the meeting. "They realized that his disability was the reason that he made statements and drew the picture, and that he had no malicious intent what so ever."

Parham said it all started when her son had made the hand-drawn picture of the bomb during the weekend at home. Parham said Rhett is a fan of the video game Bomber Man and drew the cartoon-ish like explosive.

She told FOX Carolina on Monday that her son took the picture to Hillcrest Middle School, and that's where problems arose.

Parham said she was told that her son showed the picture to some older children, who reported him to school administration.

She said it was all a misunderstanding, that when he made a comment that he had a bomb at school, he was referring to his picture but other students did not realize it.

She said her son was suspended indefinitely by the school. And on Wednesday that suspension was lifted.

"They actually reiterated to me they knew he was non-violent," said Parham said on Monday. "They knew he was not actually having a bomb, creating or making a bomb. But that they could not go with out making an example of him and take some type of action because they were worried about their perception. Perception is actually the word he used. Perception is reality, and parents might think you have a bomb or [might be] violent."

Greenville County Schools spokesman Oby Lyles released this statement on behalf of the district Wednesday, saying:

"It is troubling that incomplete and inaccurate information has been shared by the mother about the incident involving her child at Hillcrest Middle School. School districts are prohibited by law from releasing specific student discipline information without parental permission. The district prefers full disclosure of the incident, but the mother has refused our request to allow details about the incident to be released.

The school administration responded appropriately when threatening comments were made, investigated it fully, and acted in accord with applicable laws, policies and procedures to bring this incident to its proper closure."

Parham said she is appreciative of the school's willingness to change their minds about punishing her son and was thankful for all of the support she received from across the country after her story went public.

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