Autistic Kids Allegedly Cuffed, Told to Fight

A N.C. disability rights group is investigating alleged abuse at a school.

ByABC News
September 17, 2008, 4:09 PM

Sept. 18, 2008 — -- A disability rights group in North Carolina is investigating claims that several autistic students at a Raleigh middle school were restrained with handcuffs and encouraged to wrestle one another, according to legal documents obtained by

Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against the Wake County Board of Education and Robert Sturey, the senior director of special education services.

The group says both have refused to hand over the names of the families who have children in the class at Carroll Middle School in Raleigh, N.C., where the alleged abuse occurred.

DRNC is also suing for the right to enter the classroom in question and monitor student-teacher interactions during school hours -- a request that it says has been rebuffed by school officials.

According to the complaint, one parent of a child attending the school reported that her son had allegedly been handcuffed around his ankles to prevent him from kicking during a temper tantrum, said John Rittelmeyer, a lawyer who represents the DRNC, and another parent claimed his son had bruised arms from teachers grabbing him.

One parent said the school had a "WWF room" -- a reference to the former World Wrestling Federation -- in which students were encouraged to wrestle with one another, according to the claim.

"Specifically, these allegations include claims that the wrestling was done with the classroom teacher's knowledge and that the classroom teaching assistants were directly involved in wrestling with the students," the complaint states.