UPDATE Jan 11: Please jump straight to the comments and read the entry by Wampus, my lovely and never-sucessfully-sued-for-cause retired Special Ed Teacher and wife, in regard to standards of confidentiality, labeling and provision of services.
Bump and Update: January 10: Compiled from comments and any other sources I can find.
One of the most interesting developments is that the story on local news channel 5 has been deleted, along with all discussion; I assume that to be in part due to this information being leaked/circulated by the reporter.
This was posted all over the place by Zakh's grandma.
On January 6th, 2010 Carolear says:
Hello everyone,Then the story vanished from Channel 5 (no results for any query related to Zach from internal search at all) and the associated discussion was deleted. Mind you, it's rather clear which way it was headed, according to the truncated image Google has of it. It started hateful and went downhill from there.
There is a VICIOUS email be sent to thousands by a prominent LOCAL TV REPORTER that is full of lies. He posted it before talking with me....and when he DID talk to me tonight he didn't mention his bulk email blitz against me!
Here it is:
VICIOUS EMAIL A PROMINENT LOCAL TV REPORTER IS SPREADING TO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE!
Good ol boy is alive and well!
Please pass along to everyone!
Subject: Email from Darren Bob
Greetings.. I'm wondering how much you have looked into this. I have very
reliable sources that tell me this child has never been diagnosed with Autism.
The Grandmother who is taking care of the child wants a diagnosis, but can find
noone who will do that. In fact, the child HAS BEEN diagnosed as oppositional
defiant .. and that he has been in the juvenile court system for the past three
years because of his behavior. He's only been at this particular school for
three months. I understand there is going to be a court hearing on this
situation next week sometime ( still trying to track that down ) in which I'm
sure more > details will come out.>> That's it .. that's all I know .. hope you
can help me with more info..!!>>>> Daren Bobb> KFSM TV-5> Fort Smith, Ark.>
The deletion didn't go over well with one user, who protested. That TOO was deleted - but after Google had indexed it. Here's the Google Cache link.
My Google-Fu is failing me at the moment; I can't seem to find a cache of the original story. Please drop a comment if you have a link.
At any rate, the email seems to raise some important questions for me. Darren Bob's "Very Reliable Sources." You see, the "source" would have to have access to Zachs Special Ed folder, unless, of course Darren Bobb was just making stuff up, or accepting the word of someone who was making stuff up.
Disclosing information from that folder to anyone who does not have direct involvement - parents and persons directly providing services to the child - is very freaking illegal.
So Darren Bob is doing something that is apparently illegal, unethical or incompetent. This is aside from the journalistic ethics issues centering around the idea of taking part in such a dispute.
Any single one of those issues is a "please clear out your desk, security will see you to the door" issue at a reputable media outlet. Of course, Darrin Bobb was formerly a host on a Clear-Channel radio station; it's quite possible he's unfamiliar with the standards of journalistic objectivity I was taught in college. (Or I could just be exhibiting my own bias - but the sin ain't having one, it's pretending you don't have one.)
This from an e-mailer: "KWHN-AM morning host Darren Bobb is headed to KFSM-TV. The following job posting came from KWHN Program Director Gary Elmore (his partner on "Arklahoma AM")
We have a rare opening at KWHN as our current co-host has gone on to become anchor and managing editor for the CBS TV affiliate in town.
Therefore, Clear Channel Fort Smith, Arkansas is looking for a Morning co-host for our top rated news talk station, KWHN. Duties also include Assistant PD, remote broadcasts, and commercial production, plus. If you are a team player, please send demo, references and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Clear Channel Radio is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.
Looks like he'll slide alongside Bridget at 5, 6, and 10."
Still, one would expect some modification or restatement of the story. Instead, we see a rather inept cover-up, from which observers can and will no doubt derive their own conclusions regarding media and morality in Arkansas.
This You tube video was created and submitted by user ksol1460
This video contains clips from Carole Reynold's Blogtalkradio article.
Legal council has been found but we are still short of the $5000 required for the retainer.
Zakh Price Legal Trust Fund, C/O Niswanger Law Firm, #5 Innwood Circle, Suite 110, Little Rock, Arkansas 72211
This is sort of an urgent situation - more urgent than I'd realized - so I'm cobbling it together from other sources.
If you listen to anything autism- or disability- related today, listen to this interview with Carole Reynolds, whose 11-year old autistic grandson Zakhquerey Price is facing felony charges for allegedly injuring two staff members at Beard Elementary (Fort Smith, AK) while said staff members were trying to restrain him.
Zakh's story is really heartbreaking, and demonstrates so many problems with public education, the system of mental institutionalization, and criminal justice system.
Zakh has already faced years of forced institutionalization, including during a period in which he and his family mourn the loss of his sister. Now, he faces criminal charges without adequate legal representation. His family cannot afford a private lawyer, and the public defender assigned to his case does not know much about autism. With the current situation, there is a strong chance that Zakh will be institutionalized against the will of his familyagain. Zakh has already faced years of institutionalization due to a school system which wants to not educate him. He has also been institutionalized during a period in which he and his family are mourning for his younger sister, who died during his period of incarceration in mental institutions.
What can we do to help?
You can donate to Zakh's family so that they might obtain adequate legal representation.
You can join the Facebook group to follow the situation and see what else we can do to help Zakh and his family.
This is urgent. Zakh's case is on January 12.
Comments threads over at Autism Women's Network indicate that the Fort Smith Community Of People Who Are In Charge And Who Know Better Than You Do are discomfited by the sudden attention.
More on this over here.
From what I can see so far, it appears that a small town school does not know how to comply with the laws requiring them to provide a "Free And Appropriate Education." And rather than find out, they have apparently done things that at the very least raise the issue that they may have been abusing the Medicaid system. I'd want to know if shuffling kids off the Special Ed budget and onto the Medicaid budget was a common practice. I mean, aside from the involuntary detainment aspects. Those are merely questions of civil, human and family rights, and there is that well-known "autism" exception to the Constitution.
(Note: corrected a misunderstanding on my part that Zakh had been incarcerated on the Medicare dime when it was apparently Medicaid-funded. I can never keep those two straight in my head...)