Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Children In Handcuffs!
With school violence on the rise, and teachers afraid of gangbangers and drug dealers, it is no wonder that school staff sometimes resort to calling the police when a student poses a threat. For instance, the following video shows a Florida student who was so violent and out of control, it took three police officers to drag her out to a police car. Watch!
Yes, you saw that right. That violent student was five years old.
It happened in 2005, at an elementary school in Florida. The kindergartener, Ja'Eisha Scott, was having a severe temper tantrum. The rest of the video, which has never been released to the public, shows the child climbing on tables, ripping up a bulletin board, and even punching the assistant principal.
It also showed the assistant principal following her around, telling her that she was a "bad girl," and the teacher crying, "Why are you doing this?"
Finally, someone called the police. Just before the police arrived, school staff were able to get Ja'eisha to sit down and calm down. And then, the police arrived... hence, the video you now see.
What originally set off Ja'eisha's tantrum? She didn't want to participate in her kindergarten class's math lesson.
Something alarmingly similar happened in March of this year, at another elementary school in Florida. 6-year-ol dDesre Watson, also a kindergartener, had a tantrum in school. She was screaming and crying, and lashed out at whoever tried to touch her, kicking and hitting staff members or pulling their hair. The police were called. They dragged her out from where she was hiding under the table, and handcuffed her. She was put in the back of a squad car, and taken to the county jail... after being fingerprinted and having her mug shot taken. She was charged with a felony assault on school personell, and resisting arrest, among other things.
And years earlier, in 2004... also in Florida... 6-year-old Trayvon McRae had a temper tantrum during music class and began lashing out at teachers and staff members. When staff members couldn't get ahold of Trayvon's mother, a police officer who worked at the school as part of a drug education program offered to take Trayvon to his aunt's house. Somehow, Trayvon managed to do what most arrested criminals only wish they could do... he escaped from the back of the police car and ran down the street. The police officer chased him down, but when she caught him, he kicked her. So she handcuffed him and took him to the police station, where he was charged with battery on a police officer. Trayvon's arms were so thin, the officer cuffed his hands together with one cuff.
Does this sort of thing only happen in Florida? Well, read on.
In New York, 11-year-old Edgar Leon-Caraballo, a child with not only a learning disability but also a genetic disease that leaves him very frail and needing a feeding tube, stopped on the school playground to pick up what he felt was a "lucky rock", when he was supposed to be going into the building with the rest of his class.
Edgar's 1:1 aide told him to drop the rock. When he didn't, the aide took it from him and threw it to the ground. Edgar began to get upset, lashing out at the aide. Then a police officer, or possibly a security guard, shoved him to the ground and put handcuffs on him. Edgar's mother was called to pick him up. When she arrived, she found him handcuffed, lying on the ground, crying and screaming, "Mommy, I can't get up!" When Edgar's mother confronted the police officers at the scene, they admitted that the child should not have been handcuffed. An ambulance was called, due to the fact that Edgar's medical condition can cause him to go into cardiac arrest very easily. In fact, the incident did seem to cause the little boy some long-term problems... His feeding tube was torn, and he vomited and had nightmares for weeks afterwards.
In Ohio, a 9-year-old boy with autism was taken away in handcuffs after throwing bricks at his principal.
In Idaho, 7-year-old Fabian Alvarez had a tantrum in school and lashed out at staff members. The staff members called the police first, and then called Fabian's mom and asked her to pick up Fabian's younger brother because Fabian was being taken to Juvenile Detention. Fabian's mother rushed to the school, and got there 30 minutes before Fabian was to be taken out. The little boy cried and begged his mother to take him home. His mom asked to be allowed to take Fabian home, but the police told her, "Its too late now." The police officers told Fabian and his mother that if Fabian didn't come willingly to the squad car, he would be put in handcuffs. Fabian was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center, where he was put in a too-big jail uniform and kept for four days.
In Virginia, when an 8-year-old became upset after being told he couldn't go out to recess, he was led away in handcuffs as well.
When stories like this emerge, there is usually a lot of public controversy. Many people protest that these children have been treated inhumanely... that even though they were being violent, they are just small children, and there are other ways to diffuse the situation besides having the children arrested. Others argue that these kids deserved what they got, and that putting them in handcuffs and hauling them off to juvenile detention is the only way to teach them a lesson and keep them from getting into even more violent behaviors as they get older.
I have worked with several children with special needs. I have worked with some that, if they had been in different schools, very well might have been in these news stories, being hauled away in handcuffs. But they weren't. You can probably guess my opinion on this topic!
But I'd like to hear yours! Please comment!
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