See Kind of "Ball Bag" Autistic Boy Was Confined To
Local reporter April Ellis has uncovered some important facts in the story of Christopher Baker, the autistic boy who was punished by being placed in a "ball bag." Like-- what's a ball bag?
Superintendent Dennis Davis sent April a link to the product that Christopher was confined in, and she confirmed to me that it was the Abilitations BagOBalls. Click here for a pdf product description.
I was relieved to learn that the bag Christopher was put into was actually intended for therapeutic purposes, and that enclosing a child within it is one of those purposes. I have a hard time, though, reconciling the incident as Christopher's mother Sandra described it with appropriate use of a product such as this:
Walking toward his classroom, Baker's mother saw the gym bag. There was a small hole at the top, she said, and she heard a familiar voice.
"Momma, is that you?" Chris said, according to his mother.
A teacher's aide was there, and Baker demanded that her son be released. At first, the aide struggled to undo the drawstring, but the boy was pulled out of the bag, which had some small balls inside and resembled a green Army duffel bag, Baker said.
"When I got him out of the bag, his poor little eyes were as big as half dollars and he was sweating," Baker said. "I tried to talk to him and get his side of the reason they put him in there, and he said it was because he wouldn't do his work."
The following is from April's story for The Harrodsburg Herald:
The next day, Baker said she met with MCIS principal Dana Cobb and District Special Education Director Emma Jean Tamme to discuss the incident and told them her son was not to be put back in the bag. "No matter what my son did, he did not deserve to be put in a bag and set out in the hallway like trash, and I feel like that's what they did," Baker said.
She added she knew the bag and balls were being used as part of her son's sensory therapy, but said she did not know he was being placed inside the bag. "I think they should have made themselves more clear, and I do not approve of it," she said. "It disturbs me and makes me mad. I want other parents to know this is going on in the school system, because they may be like me and not fully understand what's going on."