MN Community Raises Over $24K for Boy with Autism
On February 21, some Minnesota schools were put on lockdown following a gun threat from a student.
One week after the tragedy in Parkland, FL Orono schools were put on lockdown following a gun threat made on social media from a student. In the hours to follow, the student was arrested and has since been held in Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center.
Responses of anger, fear, frustration and justice might have been expected from students, classmates and parents.
Instead, the community has responded with grace, raising over $24,000 for the student and his family.
According to a GoFundMe campaign started by Claire Wnuk Berrett on behalf of the Johnson family, the boy in question -- Jake -- "is a special needs member of [the] community."
Jake has Autism. The threat he made on social media was "made in frustration with a group discussion regarding school safety, without the benefit of impulse control."
According to medical professionals involved,
children and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum do not have the language or social skills to adequately express their social emotional needs. When verbal or written threats are made, they are usually an attempt to express the severity of the adolescent's distress. It is not necessarily a true indication of a desire to hurt themselves or others."
Claire goes on to write "There was no intention, nor the means, to carry out the threat.
Instead, she praises the Orono community as a "compassionate" one, exhorting them to respond with "forgiveness and compassion" to both Jake and the Johnson family. Jake, who is being held at the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center, is "deeply broken" and "despondent," as his Autism "prevents him from coping with his detention."
The GoFundMe campaign Claire created has already raised nearly $25K of its $30K goal. Those funds will go towards "legal representation," "care" and "treatment" for Jake.
You can give to the Johnson family at the GoFundMe page here.