A Stone Mountain, Georgia, mother is outraged after her six-year-old son was handcuffed at school. WXIA in Atlanta is reporting that the first grade, special needs student was placed in handcuffs by a school resource officer, after trying to run away from school.
Lakaisha Reid says that her husband was called by the school, telling him that there was a problem with their son, Patrick, and that they needed to come to school. She says that when they arrived, she could hear Patrick “yelling and screaming.” The school district says that Patrick was handcuffed for his own protection, but Reid is having none of it. She told WXIA, “He just ran away from school. That does not require handcuffs. He’s a special needs kid.”
Reid took photographs of Patrick, showing the bruises on his wrists. Reporter Jeremy Campbell clarifies that Patrick was indeed handcuffed. “These were handcuffs, not ties?” he asks Reid.
“Oh, these were handcuffs, behind the back,” Reid replies. “Silver handcuffs, metal.”
Patrick was handcuffed for his own protection, the school district says.
The DeKalb County School District released a statement, saying that Patrick was handcuffed because he was being disruptive, and self-destructive. The school’s student resource officer placed Patrick in handcuffs for his own protection, the district says.
He ran out of school onto a busy, public street and was pursued by three school staff members. The student was secured and returned to the school and placed in a room with a special education teacher, the school counselor and the School Resource Officer (SRO) to protect him from doing harm to himself. After several unsuccessful attempts, his parents were contacted and asked to come immediately to the school. For approximately one hour, the student was scratching, kicking and hitting school personnel and continued to exhibit violent behavior, running into walls, banging his head on tables and placing his health at risk. At this point, the SRO placed handcuffs on the student to protect him from harming himself.
Reid says that she doesn’t think Patrick was harming himself. The reporter asks her if handcuffs would help protect him from doing that. Reid replies, “He’s a six-year-old kid. I don’t think that was the appropriate way of dealing with that.”
“Would there ever be a situation when it would be ok to use handcuffs on your child?” Campbell asks.
“Yeah,” Reid replies. “If he was robbing a bank.”
Reid thinks the incident occurred due to lack of proper training for the student resource officer. “They need to have police officers that are trained for special needs kids or for any kids that are that age. That’s pretty young for handcuffs. Anything can happen with those handcuffs on him.”
The school district says that there is a protocol for dealing with children who are disruptive, but that every situation is different. Reid tells Yahoo News that Patrick will not return to school until after she meets with his teachers on Thursday. She would like to know how it was that Patrick was able to get out of the school building and into the street to begin with. “Who is doing their job there?” she asks.
Here’s the video, via WXIA:
Featured image/WXIA screen capture