Autistic high school student jailed following fight, parents want answers

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The parents of 17-year-old Marquise Baccus are distraught. They said their autistic son got into a fight with another student at Riverdale High on Wednesday after being bullied on a school bus.

“By him being autistic he’s an introvert so he doesn’t go anywhere or bother anybody but a kid kicking his seat bullying him my son has a right to defend himself. Just because he has a mental issue you can’t drop the kid off in jail with no bond,” Baccus’ Father Corey Swindle said.

Clayton County School Police arrested Baccus and charged him with simple battery. He was then booked into the Clayton County jail and has not received a bond.

“I could see it if my child had a gun, I could see it if my child had a knife. Some type of weapon, some type of drug. It was just a one-time thing for Marquise,” Baccus’ Mother Marqelle Swindle said.

To make matters worse, his parents said he’s locked up in jail without his medications, including one med which helps prevent suicidal thoughts.

“The school didn’t state that there were mental issues or medications so that’s how they’re treating him. So, he’s not getting any medication right now,” Marqelle Swindle said.

In addition, Baccus has an Individualized Education Program or IEP filed with the school district. In it, it highlights some of the challenges he deals with on a daily basis.

CBS46 contacted the Clayton County School District about the incident, and they responded by simply saying, “Clayton County Public Schools Police followed established protocol.”

“When I spoke to the officer before he went to jail the officer said had I been aware I wouldn’t have taken him to jail,” Corey Swindle said.

Baccus was scheduled to have a bond hearing Thursday, but his parents said he was not provided legal representation and unknowingly waived his right to appear. It’s unclear when he may get another opportunity to bond out.

Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy is veteran journalist with 22 years of television news experience. Adam has been the Consumer Investigative reporter at Atlanta News First in Atlanta since 2003.