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Only On 9: 6-Year-Old Autistic Student
Criminally Charged After Alleged Assault
September 23, 2007
By Lance Barry
Photographed by: Jason Garrison
six-year-old autistic boy has been charged criminally after an
incident inside his school where he allegedly assaulted a teacher's
It's a story you saw first on
The incident happened earlier this
month at Taylor Elementary School in Brooksville, Ky., located in
He is in kindergarten at Taylor
Elementary, but 9News was told that due to his autism and other
conditions, his mental capacity is the equivalent to a child half
But despite that condition and his
age, it still hasn't stopped a school employee there from holding
him accountable: criminally.
Whether it's playing outside with
his parents, or coloring SpongeBob Squarepants pictures, Nathan
Darnell isn't much different than other kids his age.
But two things that do make him
different from many other six-year-olds is his autism – and his
criminal rap sheet.
"We are not denying that he did
what they are saying, but we are denying he is culpable," said Tony
Darnell, Nathan's father.
It was just last week when Nathan's
teacher's aide, Glenda Schiltz, filed a juvenile fourth degree
misdemeanor assault charge against him.
"What human being with a heart
would do that to a six-year old?, asked Cathy Darnell, Nathan's
mother. "Seriously, who would do that? I know I wouldn't."
According to the affidavit which
9News obtained, Schiltz alleges that on September 5, Nathan grabbed
her by the shirt, pulled her backwards and began punching and
"He admits to shoving her down, but
he says he didn't pull her backwards," said Tony Darnell.
"She is no small person, she can
defend herself," said Cathy Darnell.
So what does the school have to say
about the matter?
Superintendent of Bracken County
Schools Tony Johnson would not appear on camera but did say in a
statement, "I believe we followed proper procedures and I have full
faith in my staff".
Despite being autistic, Nathan is
integrated with all kindergartners at Taylor Elementary.
His parents believe Schiltz and
other teachers there are ill-prepared to handle special needs
His mother openly questions
"[She believes] you need to take
him behind the woodshed and teach him something," Cathy Darnell,
said. "That is her mentality, beat it out of him."
"Most of the time it [Nathan's
behavior] is whining and screaming. I am sure that is hard on
teachers and stuff, but we find a way to deal with it," said Tony
On Wednesday the family went to the
county courthouse, where an inquiry was held and it was decided the
criminal case against Nathan will indeed move forward.
It's likely then that Schiltz will
have to be there.
But until they get a chance to tell
her personally, Nathan's family, in the meantime, does have
something they want to say to her.
"She is a cold-hearted woman, that
she has made every teacher look bad," said Cathy Darnell.
Repeated attempts to contact Glenda
Schiltz were unsuccessful.
9News also was in communication
with several school board members and none wanted to comment on the
This is all heading to a proceeding
scheduled for next week in which six-year-old Nathan will appear in
juvenile court as a defendant.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All
rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten, or redistributed.
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