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Florida boy on autism spectrum placed under arrest

Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 07:28:02-05

An Okeechobee, Florida boy on the autism spectrum is facing his fifth charge, and the boy's mother said she plans on fighting them all, while working to get her son back in school soon.

The video his mom shot went viral last year.

Scripps station WPTV in West Palm Beach is now learning there's more trouble for John Benjamin Haygood, the little boy in the middle of it all.

His mother, Luanne Haygood, says the state has filed four additional felony charges against John Benjamin.

She says the felonies, all of them for felony battery, came as a bit of a surprise, as the incidents in question took place in 2015.

“I don't see the point in putting up four more charges that happened when he was 8 years old,” Haygood said. "There's a reason why we don't arrest 8-year-olds."

Last year, she recorded video on her phone as school resource deputies took John Benjamin into custody, charging him with felony battery on a school employee.

The now 11-year-old is on the autism spectrum, and his mom says it was an autism-related episode.

The state prosecutor, however, said John Benjamin has more than 50 other documented incidents of physically aggressive behavior towards students and teachers.

“There's so many 7- to 12-year-old boys with autism that are getting arrested for meltdowns and behavior that can be avoided of the schools know how to react,” Haygood said.

Haygood said she is fighting back. 

“He's regressing educationally, he's regressing emotionally, he's not been around other children,” Haygood said.

John Benjamin is set to have his next court date next month.

WPTV reached out to the state attorney's office, but no one was available for comment Tuesday.