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Prineville courthouse rally to raise autism awareness


A group of parents and teenagers assembled in front of Prineville’s courthouse on Thursday to raise awareness for autism.

They also rallied to support John Kriner from Prineville, who was recently arrested, two months after losing his temper at Crook County High. The incident occurred after Kriner’s autistic stepson called him, saying he was locked in a room. (To read the whole story click here.)

Antonio Roberts, whose son also has autism, traveled all the way from John Day to raise awareness.

“I came here because I heard about a parent who was being prosecuted for being upset for their child being taken advantage of, instead of being educated,” Roberts said.

One of the main messages they wanted to get across is the need to better train teachers and staff in schools on how to interact with autistic children.

“Educators need further education to deal with a new and rising epidemic of autism,” Roberts said. “It breaks my heart, to be honest with you. These kids deserve just as much of a chance as anyone else.”

What some perceive as a lack of education is frustrating to many parents.

“I’m angry — totally angry,” said Linda Kinnaman from Prairie City, the grandmother of Roberts’ son. “You go there and you talk to the school and talk to the teachers and you talk to the principal — and they don’t listen.”

Roberts’ son went from school to school until they finally decided to pull him out and home-school him instead.

“When we took over his education, he had no basic reading skills,” Roberts said. “He wasn’t given the opportunity to be educated, because they didn’t have the skills necessary.”

His son wants to go to high school and feel normal and integrated, but his dad said that is not an option, currently.

“He knows that’s not a possibility, based on the educational system,” Roberts said.

Meanwhile Kriner had his first court appearance on Thursday. His next pre-trial hearing is set for May 28th and his trial for June 3rd.

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