Parents of Orange County student with Asperger's question school's handling of son's outburst

by: Samantha Manning Updated:

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The parents of a West Orange High School freshman who was arrested Thursday after an altercation at the school are questioning the way officials handled their son’s outburst.

Ashton Gelfand has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD and bi-polar disorder, which can lead him to lash out, his father said.

“All I see is red, like I want to either hurt something or just break something,” Ashton told Channel 9, referring to those moments.

Bryan Gelfand, Ashton’s father, said the school was aware of the 14-year-old’s conditions, but things got out of hand when the boy got into an argument with a substitute teacher.

As the situation escalated, the school’s vice principal and school resource officer got involved and it ultimately became physical, Bryan Gelfand said.

Ashton was arrested and taken to the Orange County Juvenile Detention Center where he made a frantic call to his parents.

“All he kept saying was, ‘I want to come home, I want to come home,’” Bryan Gelfand said. “And he’s just not comprehending that you can’t yet.”

Ashton’s father doesn’t believe the situation warranted his son’s arrest and is pushing for the charges to be dropped because he doesn’t feel like the school handled the situation the right way.

“To be 14 years old with Asperger’s, ADHD and puberty at the same time, he doesn’t deserve to have four misdemeanors and a felony,” Bryan Gelfand said.

Channel 9 reached out to Orange County Schools seeking comment on the policy is for informing substitute teachers about students’ disabilities.

District officials said they were looking into the situation but did not comment further.