Support the Johnson Family in Orono

The Orono community experienced a lockdown event on Wednesday February 21st, giving us all a personal story to tell about the urgent issue of school safety. For many, the immediate concern for our children has evolved into a compassionate concern for the Johnson family (Angie, Jake, Cole, and Jim).  With permission from Angie to share this information, it's important to know that Jake is a special needs member of our community.

According to the medical professionals that treat Jake, children and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum do not have the language or social skills to adequately express their social emotional needs. When verbal or written threats are made, they are usually an attempt to express the severity of the adolescent's distress. It is not necessarily a true indication of a desire to hurt themselves or others. They do not have the social awareness to recognize this is the wrong thing to say. Due to Jake's autism, the social media post was made in frustration with a group discussion regarding school safety, without the benefit of impulse control. There was no intention, nor the means, to carry out the threat.

Jake is currently being held at the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center.  Jake is deeply broken, and the situation is dire. He is despondent, and his special needs condition prevents him from coping with his detention. He is in an immediate health crisis and needs legal representation to navigate through his circumstances and get him the care and treatment that he desperately needs.

Orono is a compassionate community. The Johnson family needs our support right now. So many have reached out to offer to bring meals, to pray for them, and wonder how they can help. They will need help with legal expenses associated with psychiatric and psychological assessment, medical expenses, and other tangible impacts. Please consider opening your hearts, offering forgiveness and compassion to this family in crisis, and making a donation of any amount.

This passage is posted on a commemorative plaque at the detention facility that he is in:

"For every child who is in conflict with society the right to be dealt with intelligently as society's charge, not society's outcast; with the home, the school, the church, the court and the institution when needed, shaped to return him whenever possible to the normal stream of life."

Let's lift this family up!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Claire Wnuk Berrett 
Wayzata, MN
angela johnson 
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