Judson is my firstborn son. My baby. He was perfect. As a baby, he was wild and free. Always ahead of his time, he kept us on our toes. By the time he was 8 years old, we knew our baby was very different, and since we were such young parents, we had very little idea of what to do. Jamesville Elementary School was amazing for us, and they helped guide us to some answers. It was Asperger’s and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. I felt sick. I had absolutely no idea what to do next.
In many ways, I wish I didn’t even find out a diagnosis because the next 8 years would be some of the most difficult years of our lives. His behaviors escalated without explanation, and we were now experiencing what sometimes felt hopeless. By middle school, it was hard to get Judson to do be normal like he so badly wanted. My baby was tormented by all of this in ways that nobody could explain.
We tried to find answers, but we couldn’t even find help to ask questions. Everything started to be a revolving door of confusion and frustration. Just as soon as Judson started to make progress with managing his challenges was just as soon as a new barrier popped up, and all his progress unraveled. Judson couldn’t get settled into any of the supports we were actually able to find for him because the therapists and doctors always changed.
Although we were all doing our best to provide him the resources and supports, it was just not enough to make a difference. Sadly, my son was labeled as a problem and too much for JD [Jamesville-DeWitt School District] to handle anymore, so the alternative became BOCES. Surely the constant referrals and phone calls stopped, but the effects of his mental health issues grew faster than we could keep up with.
Having to deal with law enforcement took a toll on our family, as well as the Dewitt Police Department. They knew my son well, as he had frequent contacts whenever he was in distress or experiencing a mental health breakdown. They knew Judson, but they didn’t know how to help him either. When he was a little boy, his favorite thing to do was put on his uniform and be a cop. Eventually he became scared of them. How sad. As a mother, I was shamed for not having control. That broke my heart, but not as much as seeing my son struggle without the help he so badly needed.
What happened to my son Judson could have been avoided. What happened to him could have happened to anyone. Maybe I could have done something more to help or maybe something different. Maybe it doesn’t even matter anymore because I know my baby finally has help, and he has peace. But I don’t, and neither does his father nor his siblings nor his friends nor anyone that can relate to what this family has been through.
Judson’s life was ended too soon, but it wasn’t in vain. I want everyone to know our story, and I want every helpless mother to keep pushing to find answers and a better way. Right now, my family just wants to find peace and try to make sense of what happened. Please respect our wishes and privacy. I just want Justice for Judson.”
-Carissa Myers, mother