8-year-old special needs boy charged with two felony counts

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(WXMI) ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. — Edward Hart, 8, faces two felony counts after an altercation with police and damage done inside a police vehicle, according to court documents.

“I don’t even think he did anything wrong in this case. He’s special need,” Robert Bluhm said.

Bluhm said his stepson, Edward, ran away from the Hillside Learning and Behavior Center in Allegan. That’s where Edward Hart attends school. The incident happened March 19th.

An Allegan police report lays out what happened from the responding officer’s perspective. The report states a teacher and the principal chased after the 8-year-old. A third teacher caught up with Edward at a party store a block away off of M-40.

Bluhm said, “He’s ran away from the school before. He has, and he’s made it to M- 40 before, but he’s never made it as far as he did this time.”

Police were called to help, and according to the their report, school staff requested the officer drive Edward back to the school. When he was asked his name, Edward is said to have cursed at the officer and assaulted him.

“He has special needs. He has anger issues. They know this, and they’re going to throw him in the back of a cop car all by himself,” Bluhm said.

The officer said Edward broke the rear police camera in the back of the car. As a result, the 8-year-old has been charged with malicious destruction of police property and
resisting and obstructing.

“If they had him under control, why didn’t they ride with him in the back of this cop car. So this incident would have never took place?”

FOX 17 asked if parenting played a role in Edward’s behavior.

“We did. We disciplined him majorly. He has a day in a timeout chair. He had one week with no TV and he lost his [Nintendo] DS for life, we took it away because if we have to pay for this camera and pawn that off,”

That’s all the Allegan City police chief said the department is asking for a $50 payment to repair the broken camera. The police report said Edward’s mother was informed of the pending juvenile charges.

Chief Rick Hoyer wouldn’t go on camera, but he told FOX17 the goal is to recoup the money. Hoyer said he doesn’t agree with the prosecutor’s office decision to charge the 8-year-old criminally.

Read more: http://fox17online.com/




  • Kerri

    I feel for the parents, I have a child with Autism and it is not easy. My son is diagnosed with "High functioning Autism" and although these children are smart in very specific areas, high functioning special needs kids experience a lot more anger than others who cannot express the frustration they go through on a daily basis. I can only imagine what these parent(s) are going through, I have been through so much with both my children (the other was/is ADHD). Up until last year I was beginning to lose hope on him getting the proper help, anyone caring other than 'us', and him finishing school without a daily phone call…we finally have a bit of a success story but I can tell you that I know exactly how frustrated this family is – the parents with trying to figure it all out and the child with trying to understand himself! I don't care what anyone says, you will never understand it until you live it. You can blame parenting, you can blame communities, you can blame doctors, but when it all comes down to it, no one is to blame – it's a life-long puzzle; one where you can put all the pieces together then a new puzzle comes along. Doctors and specialists do not understand all there is to understand about special needs children so how do we expect parents and others to understand. However, I will say there should have been someone in that car with him, someone whom he is familiar with, you cannot just throw a special needs child in the back of a cop car without someone who knows how he thinks, someone he is comfortable with, and though the officer may not have known any better but this set the child up for disaster, especially when he was coming down from a very recent episode…This was – for a lack of a better word – asking for trouble! Do I think this child should be charged with felonies, no! She he be made responsible, yes. There are things he can do to earn money – while paying off a debt he will also engage in an activity that might make him feel better about his self – and that's never wrong. But charging him with felonies because an officer wasn't sure how to handle the situation is not the answer – for anyone! I have seen officers with my child that I totally loved but I have also seen ones that I think have no clue! LIke I said, and I will say it again, unless you have been in these situations, I cannot possibly explain to you what it is like – unless I wrote a book (maybe not even then!). Bottom line is they unlike us, they do not reason like us, and they do not react like us. It doesn't say what Edward's condition is but I am speaking from a Mother of an Autistic child point of view and my son would have needed someone familiar in the car with him; teacher, mom, sister, friend, someone…or he would have progressed just as this boy seemed to do. It's a case, in my opinion that the officer seems to understand and doesn't want the boy punished, good for him! But in the county that is charging him should be ashamed of their selves, I am sure this is not their first experience with special needs children and I'm sure glad my child doesn't live in their jurisdiction!!! It's sad they don't even try to understand and thank goodness, I'm going to assume they have no special needs children or they just might have a heart…sad world! So again, before I'm done – no disrespect meant to the officer, he seems to try to understand, this is just an opinion from an experienced mother!


      I understand i have 2 with autism, the mother should sue, he doesn't understand what he did!!! it's difficult!! this felony charge is not helping the child. I'M PRAYING FOR THE CHILD AND FAMILY, GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

  • kerriann

    As a mother to an autistic child, when they are in meltdown mode its almost uncontrollable. Even more so if you have no clue what your doing. He was probably scared on top of the ten emotions he had going already. It be different if he knew right from wrong or safe and unsafe but sadly most autistic children do not. Wonder if he was non verbal or not

    • JustSayin

      Where in the article did you read he was an autistic child? I read he has special needs and anger issues. Never did I read a specific diagnosis to support his behavior.

    • JustSayin

      I'm gonna go with verbal being that when the police officer asked his name he replied with a profanity.

      • Guesst

        And I am going to say you have no experience with special needs children. He doesn't have to be Autistic but many of the disorders have similarities, especially when the child is in a melt down. The child could have a number of different disorders that could account for the profanity. Torrette being on of them.

        I am going to go with this situation was handle wrong. Charges shouldn't be brought upon the child, however, he should have to suffer some sort of punishment. Perhaps community service to repay the damages done to the camera. Society is the one that is going to fail this child.

      • Joeymom

        "Verbal" implies the ability to use language in the same way the majority of people do. My son uses language differently- and he had connected profanity with terror and anger, and so it comes out when he wants to communicate those emotions, but not in the same way most people cuss when mad. If in meltdown, if he is asked ANY question, he might reply with a profanity- and he learned those words from his darling little schoolmates who "don't bully him." Yay.

  • Diana Stewart

    This is stupidity. I have screen people that have to deal with disabilities be man handled by police. Before the law enforcement become involved with these citizens they should know how to deal with people with these issues. Maybe a para, police officer. I would and I bet most of these folks would not act out so badly. The police set them off. Throw them into anxiety. They don’t know how to deal a and even more the “normal” law enforcement have no idea either.

  • Lennart Svensson

    Charging an 8-year old in a modern country is strange. Charging an 8-year old with a disability is incredible. How can your legal system allow for the local authorities to do this?

    The police need basic training in understanding disabilities. The school need strategies to motivate a child with a disability to stay in school.

  • satt1313

    They should just leave the kid alone. He should be allowed to run away if he wants to. The police shouldn't be able to arrest him because he is a SPECIAL NEEDS kid. And the parents should buy him a new Xbox if they took away his DS because he is a special needs kid and can't be held responsible. He should not even have to go to school. Maybe they could get him a medical marijuana card in Michigan. Some good tokes on a big spliff will mellow him out. Or maybe some good drugs from the doctor will work.

  • jrbond

    "He's run away from school before." HOW was he allowed to get away again? Charge the school with negligence and have them pay the damages. It is a Special Needs School. Even mainstream schools in Australia are surrounded by 8ft high fences and closed gates. Special Needs Schools have locked gates. This child should never have been able to leave school premises. That he was a known absconder and permitted to get so far is appalling. That one of the teachers did not ride in the police car with the child is unexplainable as the school had responsibility for the minor child at the time and because parents had not yet been informed that he had left school premises the school had no right to hand the child off to another authority. Totally unacceptable

  • PK

    Um, I'd like to know why he runs away. People assume special needs kids that "elope" or run away are just doing it "because that's what they do". People do things for a reason. Find out why. And drop the felony charges – what an a$$.

  • melissa

    Ok seriously now,how stupid and childish is this? The so called police should be trained on how to handle a special needs child! Instead of throwing the kid in the back of the car the parents should of been called down to where he was found and a counsilor and trained adult from the school also should of been there to calm him down and talk to the boy instead of just throwing him in the cop car!!!ummm hello he is special needs does that register into their heads! Kids are taught that the “police” are your friends and are there to protect you not put you in their car and charge you with felony charges bcuz you were acting up cuz you didnt hsndle the situation carefully!! How immature on the part of the authorities!!!! They probably egged the INNOCENT BOY on bcuz its about the end of the month and they need to meet the quotas! Shame on the authorities,shame on the school for not sending a trained counsilor out to where he was found! So what are we gonna read next? ” authorities have charged a 3 yr old for throwing a fit in the grocery store while his mother does her grocery shopping hes being charged with misdemenor for chucking his sippy cup at a customer” i swear this is what were all gonna see or read soon! PATHETIC!!!!!! NOW WHEN HES OLDER HES GONNA READ ABOUT THIS THAT HE WAS 8 AND WHAT HE WENT THROUGH

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