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Old 05-22-2008, 09:08 AM   #1
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Priest Bans Autistic Boy From Church

abcnews.com

Priest Bans Autistic Boy From Church
Mom Told She'd Be Sent to Jail if She Brought Autistic Son to Church

BERTHA, Minn.
May 19, 2008

A Catholic priest has filed a restraining order against the parents of a severely autistic 13-year-old boy in an effort to keep him from attending the church in Bertha on Sundays.

The Rev. Daniel Walz alleges that Adam Race's unruly behavior endangers others who attend the Church of St. Joseph.

Race's parents have ignored the restraining order, calling it discriminatory, and Carol Race, Adam's mother, was cited by police and is due to appear in court on Monday for violating the order.

"He said that we did not discipline our son. He said that our son was physically out of control and a danger to everyone at church," Carol Race said. "I can't discipline him out of his autism, and I think that's what our priest is expecting."

Carol Race said it all started last June, when Walz and a church trustee visited the Races at their home address the behavior of Adam, who stands taller than six feet and weighs more than 225 pounds.

In an affidavit, Walz said the church "explored and offered many options for accommodations that would assist the family while protecting the safety of parishioners. The family refused those offers of accommodation."

Carol Race said the family of seven, which has attended St. Joseph since 1996, typically sat in the cry room or in the back pew to keep avoid disrupting the services and did not hear a complaint from the parishioners until Walz showed up at their home in June.

Even after the restraining order was served, the family continued going to the church and would leave during the closing hymn to avoid contact with others, Carol Race said.

The Diocese of St. Cloud issued a statement saying the petition was filed "as a last resort out of a growing concern for the safety of parishioners and other community members due to disruptive and violent behavior on the part of that child."

Walz said the boy's behavior worsened over time, telling authorities that Adam has been "extremely disruptive and dangerous" since last summer.

According to Walz, Adam struck a child during mass, nearly knocks elderly parishioners over when he hastily exits the church, spits and sometimes urinates in church and fights when he is being restrained.

He also one time assaulted a girl by pulling her onto his lap and, during Easter mass, ran to the parking lot and got into two vehicles, starting them and revving the engine, Walz alleged.

"There were people directly in front of the car who could have been injured or killed if he had put the car in gear," Walz wrote.

Adam's parents have to sit on him and sometimes tie his hands and feet to get control of him, Walz wrote.

Carol Race has an answer to each complaint.

She said her son makes spitting faces but doesn't spit and acknowledged he has occasional problems with incontinence. She says that she and her husband sit on Adam because their weight calms him down, which is why he pulled the girl onto him.

She also said they do use soft straps to bind Adam's hands and feet on occasion because it calms him, as does the revving sound of engines, which is why he started the cars.

Some disability advocates are getting behind the Races.

"It's unfathomable and concerns me that we've taken a situation with special needs and we're making it into the criminal matter," said Brad Trahan, the founder of the RT Autism Awareness Foundation in Rochester, who has asked the bishop of St. Cloud to rescind the restraining order.

Carol Race just hopes the ugly back-and-forth doesn't tarnish the image of the church.

"The church isn't bad," she said. "But it's what some individuals do within the church."
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:51 PM   #2
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not much to discuss here


the church is 100 % right

the parents are 100 % wrong

it is too bad the child has problems
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post
abcnews.com

"It's unfathomable and concerns me that we've taken a situation with special needs and we're making it into the criminal matter," said Brad Trahan, the founder of the RT Autism Awareness Foundation in Rochester, who has asked the bishop of St. Cloud to rescind the restraining order.
Is this Priest a complete dodo or just at his wits end? A horrible horrible way to handle a very complex and emotionally loaded situation
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:05 PM   #4
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For what it's worth I saw a piece on television about this and it mentioned the boy (6 feet plus) was hitting young children in the church when he would "throw fits" - if this really is the case I see nothing wrong in throwing this guy out. He can have "church" at home!!!
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:14 PM   #5
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We have a "He Said" "She Said" here.




"He Said"

Quote:
Walz said the boy's behavior worsened over time, telling authorities that Adam has been "extremely disruptive and dangerous" since last summer.

According to Walz, Adam struck a child during mass, nearly knocks elderly parishioners over when he hastily exits the church, spits and sometimes urinates in church and fights when he is being restrained.

He also one time assaulted a girl by pulling her onto his lap and, during Easter mass, ran to the parking lot and got into two vehicles, starting them and revving the engine, Walz alleged.

"There were people directly in front of the car who could have been injured or killed if he had put the car in gear," Walz wrote.

Adam's parents have to sit on him and sometimes tie his hands and feet to get control of him, Walz wrote.

"She Said"

Quote:
Carol Race has an answer to each complaint.

She said her son makes spitting faces but doesn't spit and acknowledged he has occasional problems with incontinence. She says that she and her husband sit on Adam because their weight calms him down, which is why he pulled the girl onto him.

She also said they do use soft straps to bind Adam's hands and feet on occasion because it calms him, as does the revving sound of engines, which is why he started the cars.

I will accept every thing "She Said" at face value.

That being said, her child has problems and I sympathize, but for the safety of all he should not be in church.
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Harry Vest View Post
For what it's worth I saw a piece on television about this and it mentioned the boy (6 feet plus) was hitting young children in the church when he would "throw fits" - if this really is the case I see nothing wrong in throwing this guy out. He can have "church" at home!!!
Was that a veiled mockery of Roman Catholicism?
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:29 PM   #7
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Why?
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:33 PM   #8
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"church" isn't real church, is it because he is at home or because it's a fake system of belief.
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:36 PM   #9
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fake
system of belief.

bordering on oxymoron

a system of belief
can it be *proven* authentic? or fake?
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:35 PM   #10
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It can if you believe your religion to be the authentic revealed truth, which makes all others fraudulent.
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:15 PM   #11
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Was that a veiled mockery of Roman Catholicism?
Nope
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:08 PM   #12
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I went to a (Catholic) high school with an autistic boy, who was also quite large. Once, out of the blue, he stabbed the student teacher with a pencil. Her hand was on the desk and he put the pencil through her hand.

Not sure that the priest's concern is out of place.
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Old 05-23-2008, 01:18 AM   #13
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I went to a (Catholic) high school with an autistic boy, who was also quite large. Once, out of the blue, he stabbed the student teacher with a pencil. Her hand was on the desk and he put the pencil through her hand.

Not sure that the priest's concern is out of place.
Clearly this child is causing distress amongst the congregation and I don't have issues with the Priest addressing that, its the manner in which its being dealt with that troubles me . . . harks back to the dark ages. Could the Priest not organise for a carer to sit with the child and parents to assist? Why offer to hold a prayer session at their home? There really has to be a better way for everyone.
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:05 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Purplereign View Post
Clearly this child is causing distress amongst the congregation and I don't have issues with the Priest addressing that, its the manner in which its being dealt with that troubles me . . . harks back to the dark ages. Could the Priest not organise for a carer to sit with the child and parents to assist? Why offer to hold a prayer session at their home? There really has to be a better way for everyone.

Perhaps these things have already been tried.

We don't know the whole story.
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Old 05-23-2008, 04:34 PM   #15
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Perhaps these things have already been tried.

We don't know the whole story.
You are absolutely right and perhaps the priest is at his absolute wits end and feels as if he has no other choice - but all I meant was that there has to be a more humane way of dealing with this than trying to criminalise his behaviour which seems like a dangerous precedent to set.
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:13 AM   #16
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if it is a safety issue, then i don't see why not. You can worship god anywhere, they could have the priest come to the house to hold a private sermon later or something?

poor parents, having to sit on thier child because it calms him down, and bind his handa and feet, how exhausting for them
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:30 AM   #17
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Could the Priest not organise for a carer to sit with the child and parents to assist? Why offer to hold a prayer session at their home? There really has to be a better way for everyone.
The Catholic Church denied communion to a girl with severe wheat allergies, and refused to allow any substitutes like a rice wafer (you know, because Jesus was 100% God, 100% man, and apparently 100% whole wheat too).

Frankly, I'm not entirely sure that the institution is interested in making special exceptions for those who don't fit in.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:00 PM   #18
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Unfortunately, this issue is clouded by not only bias against churches in general, and political correctness in regards to autism. Until an expert in autism makes some kind of judgement on the safety of letting the boy go to the church, it's going to stay "he said, she said."
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:48 PM   #19
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Clearly this child is causing distress amongst the congregation and I don't have issues with the Priest addressing that, its the manner in which its being dealt with that troubles me . . . harks back to the dark ages. Could the Priest not organise for a carer to sit with the child and parents to assist? Why offer to hold a prayer session at their home? There really has to be a better way for everyone.
I'm not sure it's so far out of line. When I was younger, I often sat in the church nursery. One Sunday we kept having babies and toddlers start screaming and were finding bite marks and pinch marks on them. After a while we figured out it was the little 3 year old girl, hitting, pinching, and biting other babies. She was biting newborn infants and making bruises, drawing blood. The nursery leader called the parents out of church and told them their child was indefinitely excused from church. The intention was never to make the parents feel like criminals or punish them, but when one child is consistently hurting others, it's just not fair. Not to mention our litigious culture. That's a big liability, and the kid we were dealing with was still small enough to be carried, not over 6 feet...

I guess for me I have to look at it from the general perspective of the safety of all the children. Yes the child is autistic and thus he's not going to behave like the others, but I don't think the church owes it to the parents to figure out the solution. If the kid does those things in church, I'm guessing he does them at school and other public places.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:21 AM   #20
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but all I meant was that there has to be a more humane way of dealing with this than trying to criminalise his behaviour which seems like a dangerous precedent to set.
Like what? The kid is endangering the other church members and his parents can't (or won't) stop him.


When he's 18 and hurting people, his behavior will be criminal. Then what?
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