Parents upset after teen with Asperger's arrested for altercation with teacher

The parents of a freshman at a Florida high school are questioning the way officials handled their son's outburst.

Ashton Gelfand, 14, was arrested Thursday after a physical altercation with a teacher at the school.

The teen has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD and bipolar disorder, which can lead him to lash out, according to his father, Bryan Gelfand.

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

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Bryan Gelfand said that West Orange High School officials were 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 Gelfand 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.”

The 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.

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

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

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