Santa Clara County

Rally Held at Courthouse in Support of Boy with Autism After Lawsuit Claims Child a Public Nuisance

Supporters of a child with autism rallied in front of a courthouse in Santa Clara County, California, on Wednesday to protest a lawsuit that claims the boy is a public nuisance.

Some Sunnyvale residents want the child to declared a public nuisance because of what they call uncontrolled physical attacks. Supporters of the child said going after the boy's family is the wrong thing to do and sets a bad precedent.

The Gopal family has been battling the case for month and has also moved out of Sunnyvale, where the locals claimed the boy pulled another child's hair and bit a woman in another instance.

A pair of neighbors then filed a lawsuit to declare the child a public nuisance after they claim they failed to get the boy's parents to help.

The Gopal family insists they did get their son help by hiring a caregiver and giving him special medication.

Still, a trial setting date has been set for Dec. 23.

"We believe they have a right to thrive in this community," said Areva Martin, an attorney representing the Gopal family.

The case could set a national precedent on how to deal with cases of children with autism.

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