LEWISVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A young autistic man’s family is outraged and demanding an apology from a coach and Lewisville ISD.
Austen Mornes has enjoyed the eight years he’s spent playing on Lewisville ISD’s Special Olympics flag football team.
But the 21-year-old now feels uncomfortable going back to practice next week.
“I think it’s no good to go back,” said Austen.
Austen said during practice at Lewisville High School last Thursday night, one of his coaches gave him a hat with a Confederate flag on it.
“He told me like put it on, keep it on, show it to your mom and stuff. I said, ‘What does the flag stand for?’ I said, ‘I don’t have no clue,’ and he says, ‘Freedom.'”
The special needs athlete may have been unaware of the flag’s racially-charged history.
But his mother certainly was aware and couldn’t believe it when he came home wearing it.
“Everybody just kind of went into an uproar because he comes in wearing this hat like it’s just a regular hat,” said his mother Amelia Mornes-Njoka.
CBS 11 left messages with the coach who gave Austen a hat but have not received a response.
Lewisville ISD sent CBS 11 the following statement on the matter:
We have spoken with the adults involved in this situation and they relayed this information. The adult volunteer, who is not an LISD employee, was wearing a cap the former student expressed interest in. The student took the cap home. The volunteer coach contacted the parents to discuss what happened, and believed the situation had been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The adult volunteers with the Special Olympics are happy to speak directly with the family if concerns remain.
But Austen’s mother isn’t satisfied.
“You trust these people with your kid who has a disability. You know and as far as I knew, I knew them well enough for my son to be around them without my supervision,” she said.
Austen now understands the flags history and why it upset his mother who wants to know why as many as three adults, all white coaches, allowed her son to wear the hat for ten minutes before someone told him to take it off.
“My worst feeling was they were sitting there watching him and probably snickering or laughing under their breath,” says the mother.
Lewisville ISD not saying whether the coach will be allowed back on the field here after what happened.