Officer cuffs four year old for being a kid

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A four year old with Attention Deficit Disorder was handcuffed by officers for having a temper tantrum that involved him throwing blocks and crawling over desks. While there are probably needing to be conversations on other topics, the primary concern is yet another kid put in cuffs for something because there is an officer in schools treating kids like criminals. It would seem that this is becoming the new normal in public education.

The shackling

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Here, via WVTF public radio in Virginia, is the reaction.

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This story began in mid-October when a child at Nathanael Greene Primary School allegedly threw blocks, climbed over desks, hit, scratched, and kicked the principal and the director of special education. A sheriff’s deputy assigned to the schools was summoned, and his boss — County Sheriff Steven Smith – says the student was handcuffed.

“The boy was out of control, basically, throwing his arms around and kicking– trying to kick the deputy, trying to run away, and the deputy felt that putting the handcuffs on him was for his safety as well as everybody else’s.

The child’s mother, Tracy Wood, was notified, arriving at school soon after she got the call.

“When you call a parent to get their child, when they get to the school, you expect the child to be there– especially when you arrive in a timely manner.” Instead, she was met by the principal who said the boy had been transported to the sheriff’s office.  Wood went right over and found her son’s legs in shackles.

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“Once he got inside the office, since he tried to run and kick the deputies, they took the handcuffs off him and put the leg shackles on him, ” said Smith.

Wood was appalled.

“My son is a very loving, caring, protective little boy. He deserves to go to school and feel safe and know that he’ll come back home to his mommy. He won’t be carted off like a criminal.”

The repercussions

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Here is an expert opinion and what is happening with young Mr. Woods.

And Charlottesville psychologist Jeffrey Fracher says the use of shackles and handcuffs on a four-year-old could have long-term consequences.

“I can’t imagine any scenario where it would be appropriate to handcuff a child that young.

“What we know about childhood development and psychological development suggests that could be also be highly traumatizing to a child.”

What’s more, 76 percent of Virginia students placed under restraint already have some sort of disability. That concerns Colleen Miller, director of the Richmond-based disAbility Law Center.

“When restraint is used, it means you failed.” Virginia places no limits on the use of physical restraints in school, but lawmakers could introduce a bill in the General Assembly next year – a measure that would limit the use of handcuffs and provide for better training of teachers, administrators, and police.

That comes too late for Tracy Wood, who says her son – now five years of age – has been suspended  indefinitely and suffers nightmares as a result of his encounter.

While having police officers or other armed security in schools is a good thing, the arrests for normal kid behavior is not. There are several issues that could be brought up, but the first is why cops are shackling four year olds. No kid needs shackled. There needs to be a talk about bringing a police state into public schools.

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