Caution-Retards in Area
- 07-24-2006, 01:59 AM
Caution-Retards in Area
Family Upset About Sign In Neighbor's Yard
July 21st, 2006 @ 10:00pm
Sam Penrod reporting
A cardboard sign is hanging in a tree, directed at a boy with developmental disabilities, and the boy's mother isn't happy.
Neighbor: "I'm not taking the sign down, last night was the first night of peace we've got in a long ----- time."
Carrie Heaton, Colton's Mother: "They've put up this sign now, that we feel is very discriminatory against my son."
The cardboard sign is hanging in a tree in the Central Utah town of Nephi.
It is also being denounced tonight by advocates for the disabled.
The boy's family noticed the sign pointed at their home on Wednesday night, and tonight it is still there. That's despite our visit to the neighbors who put it up.
Advocates for the disabled are outraged, calling it insensitive and in the same category as a racial slur.
Carrie Heaton, Nephi Resident: "You are a good guy."
Colton Heaton: "Yes I'm a good guy
Carrie Heaton, Nephi Resident: "Yes you are... Pats"
13-year-old Colton Heaton is developmentally delayed. His mother says he is more like a three year old.
Carrie Heaton, Nephi Resident: "He looks normal but once you start talking to him, you can see he has these problems and he's just a loving little guy, he thinks we're just a great big family."
But now a cardboard sign is hanging in their neighbor's tree -- spray painted with the words: "Caution-- Retards in Area." His mother says it is fortunate Colton can't read the words.
As we were filming the sign, we could see the neighbors who put it up were outside, so we approached them for their side of the story.
Sam Penrod, Eyewitness News: "Why did you put that sign up?
Neighbor: "I've been harassed for six months, my daughter has been assaulted."
Sam Penrod, Eyewitness News "By who?"
Neighbor: "The young boy, we got pictures and everything and they would not press charges because he is handicapped."
The neighbor claims Colton threw a rock at his young daughter. Other neighbors told us they have frequently found Colton wandering onto their property.
Still, the Disability Law Center says using offensive words is the wrong way to handle a difficult situation.
Fraser Nelson, Executive Director, Disability Law Center: "People with disabilities are probably the last group for whom we continue to use language that is hurtful and offensive. Instead of being someone who is mentally retarded, you are a person with a developmental disability and that means really what we are valuing is the person."
Tom Brownlee, Advocate for those with Disabilities: "When I was growing up, people always used that word in front of me and called me retarded."
Someone who knows how hurtful that word can be is Tom Brownlee, who today is an advocate for those with disabilities.
Tom Brownlee, Advocate for those with Disabilities: "I hate that word, it was very offensive and I just want them to see that people with disabilities deserve the respect that they are entitled to."
Both Brownlee and Nelson are hoping the community will stand up against any behavior that lessens the role of people with disabilities in society.
Fraser Nelson, Executive Director, Disability Law Center: "Regardless of cognitive disability I may have, I'm a person and people do not deserve to have signs pointed at them, making fun of them, scaring them, harassing them."
We contacted Nephi Police and they are working with the Juab County Attorney -- who told me tonight -- he finds it distasteful and derogatory and is researching what legal options may be available, since the neighbors still refuse to take the sign down.
The Disability Law Center is planning to meet with local officials to offer sensitivity training there in Nephi.
- 07-24-2006, 05:37 AM
Hard to make a statement on stories like that since you really don't know the actual history. I disagree with softening the blow of words to the point they have no meaning left but i'm also against using any words as a way to hurt if there's no provocation for it.
- 07-24-2006, 05:41 AM
I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think the guy has a right to put a sign saying whatever he wants on his property. It also sounds like the kids parents are letting him run around unsupervised. Not sure if this is a good way to handle the situation though.
07-24-2006, 05:56 AM
07-24-2006, 06:03 AM
First amendment baby!
The parents of the mentally challenged kid should put up a sign like;
CAUTION- INSENSATIVE SOCIAL NEANDRETHALS!!!
07-24-2006, 06:05 AM
Very distasteful, but having grown up near a few mentally handicapped men they CAN be inadvertantly dangerous. They mature physically like men, yet behave like children. It is up to their caretakers to make sure they don't hurt anyone, especially neighboring children, and to make sure they aren't destructive to anybody's property.
If this family has, like they claim, been exposed to great difficulties with this handicapped neighbor kid they have a legitimate concern, especially since nobody will do anything.
I would love to say "I'd do this" or "I'd do that", but I have no clue what I would do in a situation like this. How do you deal wth a handicapped person who (is claimed to be) dangerous to a persons daughter and (is claimed to be) a repeat trespasser when nobody is willing to do anything because the person is mentally handicapped? Very difficult decision to make here.
The problem is, despite the fact that there is no animosity, hate, or premeditation in the harassing of the neighbors daughter because the kid is mentally handicapped, it doesn't change the fact that she can potentially be hurt.
07-24-2006, 06:32 AM
I think it is distatefull. We do have free speech, but there are ways about using
Like it was mentioned above we dont know the full story but maybe he should talk to the parents of the child.
Also it does sound like the parents need to be have more supervision for the child.
07-24-2006, 06:48 AM
My view is that this would have never have happened if the boys parents were looking after him properly (that is if everything that's been said in that report is true). The crude sign wouldn't bother me and frankly I don't see how the people with the sign could be pressed charges in anyway when they were ignored when they went to the police with the problem.
Seems to me people want to take this, do something and end up looking like the good guy.
07-24-2006, 09:54 AM
If he is forced to take his retard sign down, then they can force me to take my "Bush sucks" sign down if somebody is offended by it.(I don't really have one, but you get the point). I agree it is distasteful, but too many people in this country think it's their RIGHT to NOT be offended by anyone exercising their right to free speech. Free speech is supposed to be exactly that-"free". And if the parents are letting their disabled child the way that's been stated, maybe the sign should be left up-for them.
07-24-2006, 10:01 AM
exactly, it is kind of one of thosegrey area things...but it was very distasteful, its very sad that my first reaction was laughing a little to be honest. I know its wrong but I'd be damned if politically incorrect things dont make me laugh...the man just got sick of what was going on and handled it wrong. Hes just human.Originally Posted by jarhead
07-24-2006, 12:18 PM
That is my first feeling about the sign.
Then I think about it logically, I am thinking perhaps it is their right. BUT Think if the boy is developed enough to know what is going on how HORRIBLY hurtful that is.
I COMPLETELY agree that the parents seem to have been negligent in taking care of the boy and something should be done.
Maybe the subject is a little closer to home for me than most. My father started a boy scout troop solely for retarded boys, to give them something to do and also to give the parents a rest for a few days.
I truly believe my father was ahead of his time, he called them special scouts until their was a petition saying that degraded the boys. Now ta da we have special olympics. My fathers troup was formed in the early 60s.
These 'boys' some of them in their 30s were some of the most loving caring people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
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07-24-2006, 12:49 PM
Don't see the problem. Free speech isn't contigent on someone not being an ******* about using it. Likely though they can use some zoning or house property use restrictions to make him take it down. Personally I wouldn't have bothered with the sign if their son was harrassing me or my kids, I would have tried to help them. But, having been is a similar situation once there are parents that just don't do **** for kids like that, and you're left with few choices to make them get their asses in gear. Had I put a sign up it would have said ****ty, Neglectful Parents Of A Mentally Challenged Kid In The Area, but that's just because I usually like to make sure blame is put where it belongs.
07-24-2006, 04:02 PM
07-24-2006, 06:41 PM
I just think it's funny that they have a sign in spray paint, what does the sign do exactly, I wouldn't have pressed charges but I might have social services or someone scare some sense into the parents, and have them realize that they have a special situation that needs to be handled not let loose on the world.
I'm not a parent yet, but I couldn't understand what would get in my way of protecting my kids. It really comes down to his parents doing there job.
07-24-2006, 07:11 PM
I think the whole think stinks. Working for the past 11 yrs with handicapped kids, crap like that pisses me off.
Yes the parents of the kid need to watch him better, but the jerk that hung the sign needs to grow up, what is that teaching his kids, i feel bad for his kids, sadly they will grow up to be a insensitive jerks like they are.
RIP Ryan, :(
07-24-2006, 07:18 PM
Which is the bigger issue- some guy gets fed up and hangs an insensitive sign, or the fact that the parents of this kid aren't doing what they should to protect their son and other people from him? Because this guy is a jerk, people are making the neglect of the child the secondary issue. Doesn't make sense to me.
07-24-2006, 07:27 PM
Yeah, let's not cloud one issue by getting tunnel vision on another. Several neighbors said they had issues with the kid roaming on their property etc. My kids don't get to roam free at their ages and who are mentally healthy.
07-24-2006, 07:30 PM
Exactly. I know where my children are at at all times, and freak out if I don't.Originally Posted by Jayhawkk
07-24-2006, 11:05 PM
Originally Posted by jarhead
I do agree but than call DCYF, if you call they have to investigate, all I am saying is maybe the wondering child isent a issue if ( which we dont know, because no one has stated that they called dept of family and children services)....But I do know if they had called (all the neighbors and they were so concerned, it would be looked into, and the family would be watched, and be offered classes to help them with there wandering child.
Your right, watch your child, but also dont be a insensitive oaf.......hanging a sign, I mean come on. All this kid did was be born different, you have a issue go after the parents, handle it like an adult........
RIP Ryan, :(
07-24-2006, 11:22 PM
Yeah, maybe something aimed at the parents would have made a better impact, like cdb stated. Something like "caution: neglectful parents in area." It would have been less offensive and probably had a different result.
07-25-2006, 01:16 AM
What a crappy situation for both families, the family who put up the sign has call child protective services if that disabled kid is going around the neighborhood putting himself and others in danger. At least none of these parents went "hockey dad" on each other.
07-25-2006, 03:55 AM
This whole thing hits home for me, too. My cousin (who I'm VERY close with) has cerebral pausly and it is a severe case. He used to be able to crawl when he was a kid (just with his arms) now, after a few failed surgeries to help him, he is as stiff as a board and can't even put food to his mouth. He is also the nicest, most selfless person I know.
However, if he was running around the neighborhood in his motorized wheelchair and intentionally running into kids and my aunt and uncle did nothing but say "well, he's special" I wouldn't blame someone when they finally flipped out. Luckily, he doens't do that and my aunt and ucle are very good caretakes.
07-25-2006, 04:01 AM
Sign comes down in Nephi
By Lesley Mitchell
The Salt Lake Tribune
Posted: 326 PM- A Nephi family angry that their neighbor's autistic teenage son wanders the streets and rifles through nearby homes has taken down a sign in their front yard that said, "CAUTION RETARD'S IN AREA."
Kallie and Darren Galbraith did not immediately return
# Neighbor's offensive sign targets autistic teen
calls seeking comment about their sign or why they took it down. But Chad Bowles, chief of Nephi City's police department, said they took it down after he visited their home Friday evening.
"We talked to them I think they understood by using that type of wording they made a mistake," he said. "It's so degrading and it ridicules the family."
But Bowles said he understands the Galbraith's frustration.
He said neighbors have complained for some time about the 13-year-old boy, whose mother, Carrie Heaton, said has been diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities and functions at a 4- to 5-year- old level.
"Mostly they complain that he goes into their homes, rifles through their things and eats their food," Bowles said. "There are a lot of people in the area who are frustrated with this boy."
He said the police department considered asking prosecutors to charge the boy when he hit the Galbraith's 10-year-old daughter in the knee and elbow with rocks last November, but decided against it because the boy would be unable to understand what that meant.
07-25-2006, 04:05 AM
Those last few lines explain the frustration very well.
I think the sign was referring to the parents, not the kid...what a bunch of idiots.
I had a mentally retarded man try to punch me once when I was about 15-16. Luckily I can take care of myself and keep my cool. If I was a young kid I could have been hurt because his caretakeers never watched him.
07-25-2006, 04:41 AM
07-25-2006, 04:46 AM
Nope. But, I did "restrain" him until he understood its not nice to punch people. lol. He was actually a pretty big guy. Maybe about 6'0 210 or so. I was about 155lbs at the time so despite his disability, it was a big fist!
07-25-2006, 05:00 AM
07-25-2006, 06:10 AM
Hhaa..yeah. He wasn't extremely "retarded" (tabooo!!!!). He was probably closer to a 12 year old mentally. And, as a result, we'd joke (playfully, not mean) with him. I said, "what's up vince" and stuck out my hand for a *five*, pulled it away and said "haha, gotcha". Then he tried to punch me. But, it was totally playful and I couldn't imagine if some 10 yr old kid did it and got popped in the face.
he was actually pretty funny. He'd cruise around with his discman everywhere and ask everyone "hey, do you have any new CD's?" He was always listening to tupac, dr. dre, eminem, wu tang, and all kinds of rap. Dude made me LMFAO
There was another dude up the street who was probably 10-12 mentally after huffing too much paint. He was about 40yrs old and we were honestly worried he was trying to seduce my best friends young nephew. He'd always be getting him drunk and treat him like his little girlfriend.Just becauset hey're handicapped doesn'tmean they cant' be dangerous. I know first freggin' hand. I swear to God my neighborhood was developed for mentally handicapped people b/c it was filled with them (yeah, yeah, me too... i know). there was a house at the end of my street that had about 2-4 people who were mentally retarded . There was a girl who was just normal enough to be given caretaker responsibilities over her brother. He was a HUGE guy probably 330lbs and actually dangerous. He had some pretty out of control movements at times and he'd hit mailboxes and knock over trashcans while yelling, barking and biting his fist and slobbering all over the place. I normally Then there were the two I told you about who were always running all over the place, no caretaker supervision. There were a few more, but they were all well taken care of.
I was living in a very low income part of town at the time and as a result, every person who had to take care of a disabled child/brother/etc moved there.
There is actually a cop down the street from where I live now with two twin brothers who are probably 8-10yrs mentally and about 40 physically. They're very nice with the neighborhood kids and wave to everyone, but after my lifes experience you can't drop your guard around anyone, even if they don't have the capacity to intentionally do bad things.
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