The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on a lawsuit filed by the mother of an 11-year-old boy with autism who accused Douglas County school resource officers of “aggressively” handcuffing the child and locking him up after he poked a classmate with a pencil.
In a filing titled “Statement of Interest of the United States of America,” Justice Department attorneys argued against a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Douglas County School District.
The incident that prompted the lawsuit occurred at Sagewood Middle School in Parker.
The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, names the Douglas County School District, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, and three deputies who arrested the boy on Aug. 29, 2020. The sheriff and the deputies were sued individually.
ACLU of Colorado is representing Hanson in the lawsuit, which alleges violations of the student's rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 4th Amendment.
In the new filing, Justice Department attorneys asked the court to consider its position – namely that the school district and sheriff’s office were required by the ADA to make “reasonable modifications” to their handling of the boy because of his autism.