Michigan parent Kelli Stapleton recently pled guilty to poisoning her autistic teen daughter Issy. According to police reports, Kelly lured Issy into a van, “drugged her, lit the grills and left the van to get more charcoal while her sleeping daughter breathed in poisonous carbon monoxide fumes.” Kelli and Issy both survived the attempted murder-suicide. Issy emerged from a coma and seems to be doing well; Kelli is in jail, and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 6th.
Reactions to this story are almost as disturbing as the story itself, because media and blog accounts about this case tend to empathize with Kelli, not Issy. In fact Issy is almost universally depicted as a trigger for her mother’s act, rather than a human being with feelings, friends, interests, and rights.
We need to change that conversation.