This post isn’t for the faint hearted due to some of the accusations, this is fair warning. It’s also extremely long, but very dramatic and worth the read.
Tuesday afternoon, during my therapy session, I received several phone calls from my husband that I had to reject and then an urgent text to call him, that he spoke to our son’s principal and needed to have a conversation with me. Immediately after my session, I called him up to find out what was wrong, as I had picked my son up from school just before my appointment and he didn’t let on that anything was wrong.
My husband told me that my son was being accused of some offensive…words? He said that he was accused of saying he would take pictures of the other students and then masturbate to them, boys and girls alike. The principal said that some other students felt unsafe and it was best our son left his phone at home.
Uh, what? First off, that didn’t sound like something my son would say and, wth? It rang like a mean rumor, not what someone would say about themselves. Granted my son is high functioning Autistic, but he wouldn’t embarrass himself and say anything about masturbation to others. His social anxiety is extreme and he cares about what others think about him in a social opinion way.
I should mention now that my son goes to a Christian school, his class has 8 students, the principal is incompetent but friends with the board, whom she blames for all her actions (or she can’t make her own decisions?).
Anywho, I brought my son upstairs to speak to me.
“Why are they saying you said you take pictures of other kids at school and masturbate to them?”
His response was that he didn’t say that, he didn’t know why they would.
With my son, you need to question him very specifically or you won’t get straight answers. Part of the Autism, he needs specifics, which I tend to be the same way.
“Where would they come up with something like that? Saying that you said that?”
He told me that probably a boy Boss (names are changed) at his school, he thought he said something like that last week, but it wasn’t true, Boss likes to make stuff up.
Hmm. In my head I was judging the truth factor, all kids will tell lies to avoid getting in trouble.
I knew Boss had a history of making stuff up from past conversations with my son. There was a bit of back and forth with us but I chose to believe him.
I did have to take his phone away, until my husband got home the following night. I looked through his pictures though to see if anything looked inappropriate or if there were an excessive amount of student pictures. There were no student pictures since the end of March, everything was really mundane. The pictures he had were from the dances he went to and a lot of silly stuff.
I spoke to my husband after that and I told him he blamed another boy, Boss. Then my husband laid one on me…
He told me he was in fact also accused of saying he would rape someone.
Stop right there!
Oh hell no. Not my son. I know my son, he would never in a million years say that nonsense. He’s only 13, comes to church with us every Sunday and youth group every week, plus all their conferences and events.
He’s been a good kid recently. A bit of trouble here and there but nothing bad. It’s been good for a year or 2 now with him.
Fast forward to the next morning, I send him to school with no phone. I head to the doctor and then blah blah blah…
Phone call from my husband at about 10:30. I need to go pick my son up, they want to suspend him. The board is pushing for expulsion. I need to call the school to let them know I’m on the way.
What the heck?
I called the school to let them know but ‘lo and behold the principal answered the phone (small school). I told her who I was and that I was coming to get my son.
She apologized and blathered on nonsense about not calling it a suspension, “not using those words”. She talked about trying to avoid this but told me she questioned my son further and he lied about pictures.
I won’t get into the details now because I will get into the truth later.
Just shut up woman, I’m coming to get my son. Actually, I tried to say something in my son’s defense but she blathered on.
Sorry for using the word blather too much, I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons a lot – players will understand.
I picked my son up and talked to him about the importance of truth. I told him he was facing expulsion. I explained to him at this point, it doesn’t matter if he said whatever they said he did, we need to know the truth, so we can move forward in his best defense.
I’ll skip ahead to the talk he had with my husband and I Wednesday night, where we were able to get the whole version of the truth with proper questioning.
The pictures. He took pictures of kids at the dance, with their permission. There was an issue that came up, when at the start of school in the gym in the morning, one of those kids wanted their picture deleted. -The principal is accusing him of lying about the picture being from the dance, but she did not question him properly and ask what needed asking.
The accusation of saying he would rape someone:
My son was eating lunch and Boss came over to his table, sent by No. My son was sitting with Glory, and a couple other kids. Boss asked him something about rape and he accidentally answered yes because he didn’t really hear him well or understand the question. Then it dawned on him and he repeatedly said no over and over. He tells us that Glory can likely corroborate his story, since she was with him. He doesn’t know if his friend Ab can too, because he doesn’t know if she was paying attention and she was slightly further away.
So, then Boss goes back to the table with No and their little clique of friends who have been at the school since they were in diapers. “Guess what Wiggle said?” (Wiggle is the pseudonym my son would choose for himself, lol.)
What we ended up surmising at this point, is that one teen boy put another one up to the task of asking my son a question he was caught off guard for.
These children in his school have not been the most understanding of my son’s differences and “quirky behavior” – i.e. Autism social struggles. At one point in his previous year, his psychologist tried setting up a way to help the kids be more understanding and accepting of children like my son. The school started off on board but it never came to fruition.
Back on track. Our meeting with the principal, KU.
We start the meeting with the four of us, my husband, myself, our son, and her. My husband explained we wanted Wiggle to tell his side of events, as he saw them happen.
It was a struggle though, because it took prompting and redirecting our questions so he understood the information we were asking for…The sequence of events. He’s a brilliant boy but you can’t just ask him to tell you what happened or for the sequence of events.
He explained about Boss asking him and his response, and he explained about the pictures confusion.
The principal pointedly asked if he talked at all about masturbation or rape to anyone else at any point in time.
He answered no.
We had him leave the room.
The principal said that his story does line up, but that she questioned multiple children, to see if they had anything to say about our son. She said that multiple kids were saying he said he had a “rape list” and such things as this.
You could have knocked me over with that news. That sounded so far-fetched based on the mentality and maturity of my son. However, knowing my son is in fact on the spectrum, it wouldn’t be outlandish for him to parrot what he heard other boys saying because he thought it would help him fit in or be cool.
The principal also went on to tell us how she had received complaints in the past about how he’s made other students feel uncomfortable because he says things or he stares, but she’s not put any stock in it and told them it’s probably because he wants to be like them or admires them.
The battle we’ve had at this school with the students is that he’s not fit in, he’s socially awkward and makes them uncomfortable, and they’d rather exclude him than learn to accept an “odd duck”. He’s really very sweet if you accept his quirks.
My husband tells the principal that even if he said these things, which is all hearsay, he didn’t understand the implication of the words due to his Autism. Legally he can’t be disciplined for actions from his disability.
The woman had even in so much admitted that she knew he would never harm anyone and didn’t mean anything if he said these things, he likely said them for attention or something, but then proceeded to say that they’ve warned our son in the past about choosing his words wisely and not speaking inappropriately.
Both my husband and I visibly wanted to smack our heads.
My husband told her, you can’t just tell him one or two times about something, we struggle at home with communication and him understanding things. He’s not a normal child and you can’t handle him like a normal child.
I interjected: you can’t treat him like he’s not disabled.
Though let me be clear, readers, I fully believe he is innocent and this is an instance of bullying. If he had said these things, it would have been beyond his understanding.
The meeting ended with her telling us how much her heart broke for us and our son, and for the other students and their parents.
Whatever KU, you’re incompetent and don’t understand how to deal with an Autistic child and a group of bullies who decided to use him as a scapegoat.
We got in the car and asked Wiggle about this rape list KU had mentioned. He responded that he didn’t know anything about a list, that he thought Boson had made something like it up. I pointedly asked him about Monday night at the Volleyball game, he was heard talking about it. He told us someone came up and asked him about it and he said he didn’t know anything about it.
We wouldn’t be good parents if we believed him carte blanche and didn’t investigate. He’s Autistic, not a vegetable.
In our meeting with the principal, it came to light he had an Instagram account we didn’t know about. We asked that he immediately login and hand his phone to me.
His account consisted of 5 pictures of our cute little Shih Tzu. And the people he followed were all very innocuous or schoolmates. I checked his messages.
Messages from Snake – an older popular boy at school – were threatening Wiggle and swearing at him, calling him names. He handled it well, wasn’t intimidated. Later on, Wiggle told the boy to not make fun of his dad, who did lunch duty at the school the prior week. And then what backed up his accounting of events was a message Monday night:
“Boss made up the list.”
I asked my son about that Monday night message. He said that he’s the boy who came and asked him about it, so he messaged him about it.
This all before things started happening at school Tuesday afternoon/Wednesday.
My husband went through my son’s browser history on his phone, iPad, and computer, because he was accused of saying he watched porn. Which honestly, he’s 13, big deal if it was true, that’s normal curiosity for a teenage boy.
But alas, his browser history, which had no evidence of any history being deleted to cover tracks either, was so ridiculously child-like. Roblox pet adoption and trade was a huge chunk, and another huge chunk was people making funny faces with their tongues sticking out. Celebrities making funny faces. Tons of really stupid things, nothing even remotely dirty. Things a 10 or 11 year old would look up, which is about his maturity level.
I told my husband to ‘search’ his history. He searched for many dirty words, which came up empty, and then the word ‘rape’.
Monday night: “When is rape awareness day”.
Well I’ll be darned. That’s an unusual search. I asked my son later on, and he said it was brought up in a group chat and then showed me. Yep, someone talked about Rape Awareness Day.
I also asked my son when he first heard about this “list”.
He said he thought 1st or 5th period, he heard No and Boss talking about it. This week, Monday.
The school (principal) thinks my son said these awful things and has this list and is weighing their options while he does school work at home. The actual boy, Boss, who made the list is going unchecked because when questioned he threw my son under the bus, so to speak, because of him being an outsider and different. All the kids were gung ho about saying these things about my son so they wouldn’t get blamed or their friend from 1st grade wouldn’t get in trouble.
My heart is breaking for what my son is going through, because he doesn’t even really realize the implications or the extent of things.
For a couple days he kept telling me that maybe Boss will tell the principal that he (Boss) said those things and not him (Wiggle). I had to explain that it wasn’t likely Boss do that, because he was the one who pointed the finger at Wiggle when the principal questioned him. I explained that Boss didn’t want to get in trouble, he’s going to keep lying to avoid getting in trouble himself.
Right now, we’re waiting to hear what the school wants to do moving forward about my son’s education. Perhaps remote learning to finish the school year. I’m not sure going back to in person classes at that school would be a good idea, especially socially, considering the other kids and the environment.
What it boils down to also is this. There’s a 13 year old boy at that school with a rape list that is going unchecked. Boss is seen as quiet and sheltered. Maybe he thinks it’s just a joke? Desensitized to the seriousness of what rape is, he will keep his list going.
I’m sorry, I just see a little young rapist forming. I also see a rape culture brewing amongst the boys who had his back and then ganged up on my son because his Autism made them uncomfortable. Maybe it’s my history and personal experience playing into my views on this. Maybe I’m being paranoid. Maybe not.
This school has been a sinking ship and we should have been warned, protected our son. A family from our church, leaders in the youth ministry, told us they pulled their teenage daughter and homeschooled her because of issues and how they handled them. Last year and this year, kids would be pulled out by their parents mid-year and sent to a different school nearby. Multiple teachers left, mid-year. The signs were there and it took too long for us to add them up.
I will try to keep my mind busy for the rest of the night. It’s been wanting to ruminate and picture ways I can intimidate or trick Boss into turning himself in – not for vindication for my son, though that would be awesome – but to get him in line, to protect all the girls he’ll face in his future that are on his list and future lists.
I feel powerless.