Couple suing after 8-year-old son arrested, put in straitjacket - WNEM TV 5

Couple suing after 8-year-old son arrested, put in straitjacket

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GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) -

A Middle Tennessee couple said their 8-year-old son with autism has not been the same since he was arrested at school, handcuffed and taken to jail.

Now, the couple plans to sue Sumner County for $500,000.

Parents Brittany and Larry Granito told the Channel 4 I-Team the school was aware their son was prone to violent outbursts and had a crisis management plan to follow.

Instead, they said their son, Colton Granito, was arrested and charged with assault. He was even put in a straitjacket.

Brittany Granito said she made a recording of her son as he was crying and begging to go home from inside a jail cell.

"My initial response was devastation," she said.

Colton was arrested last February. He was attending R.T. Fisher Alternative School at the time.

The Granitos said Colton had a meltdown that day, which he is prone to do because of a medical condition. During that meltdown, Colton hit his teacher.

"He's terrified of police officers," Brittany Granito said. "He has to wear Pull-Ups every single night. He has nightmares."

Because Colton has special needs, his parents said the school should have followed the crisis management plan they had in place. The plan even lists Colton's high-risk behaviors, including hitting and kicking.

The plan details how teachers should reduce that aggressive behavior with measures like redirection, using a caring gesture or by taking him to a safe area.

Instead, the Granitos said their son was arrested at school, handcuffed, taken to jail and put in a straitjacket chair for an hour.

Colton was charged with assault that day. He is now 9, but still on probation.

Brittany Granito said she had to quit her job to take care of him because he is still traumatized.

The couple is now suing the Sumner County Board of Education and the Sumner County Sheriff's Office.

"There needs to be some accountability," Brittany Granito said. "It can happen to any child with special needs."

Colton is now attending another school.

Channel 4 contacted both the school board and the sheriff's office for their side of the story, but the county attorney representing them said they have not yet been served with a lawsuit. The attorney added it would be inappropriate for them to comment at this time.

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