It has come to my attention that there may have been readers who read this article but failed to see the updates on Mr. Robinson. You see, after this article was published, numerous people contacted this author and provided quite a bit of information. Attempts were made to get answers from Mr. Robinson and yet he failed to answer the questions. An article outlining what these numerous people were claiming was published; after that, Mr. Robinson harassed this author along with one other person and pretending to be multiple people in an effort to "prove" he was a legitimate person trying to help those with autism and that his claims were true; following that harassment, I filed a police report with my local Sheriff's office and forwarded this information to the Arizona FBI office who is handling a case against Mr. Robinson. Another article was then published outlining the harassment. A final article was published some months later with some answers regarding whether or not he was a Nascar racer and first cousins to Shawn Robinson and worked "closely" with Ari Ne'eman, including being interviewed with Mr. Ne'eman by CNN. Both Shawna Robinson and Ari Ne'eman denied any knowledge of Mr. Robinson.
Here are the links to those articles:
As reported here, Dallas (Obanion) Williams is a young child who potentially was facing felony assault charges stemming from an allegation that he bit a staff member at his school when she attempted to physically restrain him with the help of another grown up. When the mother, Tina, arrived that day, she had found both grownups lying on top of her 62 lb son. There is a long history of the school’s choice to use restraint on Dallas that has resulted in multiple injuries on the child. However, it was reported by his mom, that no one mentioned pressing charges against Dallas until after the mom refused to sign a consent form to allow ANY school personnel to restrain Dallas, regardless of training.
The school staff, the Juvenile Court Officer and the prosecutor’s office were contacted and all three said “No comment.”
Tina Obanion was to appear for an informal hearing on February 25, 2010 at 3:45 p.m. to discuss the potential outcomes of these charges. Tina Obanion is to refrain from discussing the school or its personnel but was able to tell us via the Facebook Page that the charges were not going to be pursued. At this time, however, there is nothing in place at the school to ensure that this does not occur once again.
Michael Robinson, founder of The Office of Autism Advocacy, got involved and left comments of support. He, and his staff at The Office of Special Education Advocacy, has been instrumental in helping Tina file due process to get Dallas additional supports and services as well as pursue criminal charges against the staff.
Mr. Robinson stated: “To all that called, wrote, faxed: The Chief Juvenile Officer stated to me today while I gave them a statement on the Administrative Law Action taken by O.S.E.A that : " We were inundated with phone calls and faxes from not only all over America , but the world. I'm writing a document up to include this in his file”
Examiner contacted Mr. Robinson prior to the hearing for an interview following his Facebook comments on the Nancy Grace page that he and his office were going to get involved.
Examiner: How did you get involved in Dallas' case? How did you hear about it?
Mr. Robinson: I was contacted by the mother and multiple other advocates that work on the local or state level. I heard about it on the nearly 200 yahoo listservs that I get feeds from and as well on Facebook. I first heard about the case before it was on any of these and then spoke to mom a few days later and she had already started her campaign for her son's Civil Right to FAPE in the LRE and to be educated in a healthy and safe manner using positive behavioral approaches through ABA D/T verses being restrained. We’re no longer in the 1960’s. Our kids don't need electroshock therapy nor do they need to have tackling squads ready with quasi training in how to pin a child down and little to no training or education on positive behavior interventions.
Examiner: Why did you decide to found the Office of Autism Advocacy?
Mr. Robinson: I first founded the Office of Advocacy for Autistic Children in 1996 after a career ending wreck in a NASCAR sanctioned race. After 8 months of injury and recovery, I noticed my son was showing the telltale signs of Autism which I am educated to actually diagnose if I had the desire to be licensed.
The fight for an appropriate education even in the 90's when it was 'easy' to get a fully paid in home ABA Discrete trials program almost anywhere, one still had to fight to initially get it or pay an attorney a high rate.. Which wasn't bad then but now can be up to 40,000 or more. That's a big down payment on a house, not a FREE Appropriate public education. The Office of Autism Advocacy is a spinoff from the original and is a Lobbying entity. The Office of Special Education Advocacy is the org. that is handling the case for Dallas. Lots of Advocacy!! My son was my driving force. Helping others and attempting to help as many as possible from facing what Dallas faced has been the primary fight although gaining FAPE in general is hard for many. Nowadays, it takes a calculated 'attack' to gain what should be automatically given.
Examiner: Do you know of any other cases of autistic children facing charges in the United States, other than Dallas Williams and Zahquery Price, as a result of physical restraint and seclusion practices?
Mr. Robinson: Yes. Many many more. A law called FERPA doesn't allow disclosure of educational records or information within them without a release. Although it's not always applicable to just anyone, if I've worked on the case it must be within the disclosure period to talk about it. In 2009, my organization handled a total of 27 cases of children arrested in 9 states. Several in Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania. As well as others in Arkansas and throughout the country in other states, there were even more that my office did not represent. All but one was for the exact same thing. Children from age 5 to 13 fighting to get out of Prone Restraint. Sometimes disguised as CPI, PRONE is often used even in states such as California where in a recent IEP meeting I had the displeasure of having an actual B.C.B.A. tell me about his prone restraint program. I was shocked to say the least, and with many past clients that have deceased to this, it takes a lot to shock me.
Mr. Robinson further stated: “" Personally, as a father of a 16 year old with Autism I have to separate the emotion that comes to my mind when I work on cases such as this, I must commend Tina Obanion for keeping her cool and making wise decisions in regards to her son's future. More parents need to stand up and speak out when they know their child is not receiving an appropriate education. "
It is a good thing that Dallas is no longer facing these charges but many more currently are and will continue to be the ones blamed without proper legislation in place to prevent it.
One reader, named Erin, wrote on the article about Zahquery Price,
“Let's try a social experiment. The next time you're out in public, (you need a buddy to help), pick some random person (preferably someone that looks confused or already upset, like a senior citizen or a pregnant woman), grab them and try pulling them down to the ground to restrain them. Don't let go. Keep yelling at them to stop behaving that way while applying more pressure. When they fight back in self defense, because they have no idea who you are and why the hell you are holding them down against their will, call the police and have them arrested for felony assault.
Gee, that sounds ridiculous doesn't it? Well that's exactly what that boy went through. He had absolutely no idea why people were treating him like that. Fighting back when attacked is an instinctual reaction for survival.”
To ensure that this does not happen again, please contact your state congress members, you can find your local representatives and senators by clicking here. Below is a script you can follow to ask for support for federal legislation.
Ask to speak to the person working on education issues, as usually you will end up speaking with a personnel department member and not the senator or representatives themselves.
Identify yourself as a constituent and the organization that you represent (if any)
Message 1: “I am calling to urge (Senator’s name) to co-sponsor S. 2860, legislation preventing harmful use of restraint and seclusion in schools.”
Message 2: “I am calling to urge (Representative’s name) to co-sponsor H.R. 4247, legislation preventing harmful use of restraint and seclusion in schools.”