Sunday, March 20, 2005

Kindergarten Cops

Is there a time when it is appropriate for the police to restrain an out-of-control 5-year-old kindergarten student? That is exactly what happened in St. Petersburg, Florida the other day:

A 5-year-old girl was arrested, cuffed and put in back of a police cruiser after an outburst at school where she threw books and boxes, kicked a teacher in the shins, smashed a candy dish, hit an assistant principal in the stomach and drew on the walls.

The students were counting jelly beans as part of a math exercise at Fairmount Park Elementary School when the little girl began acting silly. That's when her teacher took away her jelly beans, outraging the child.

Minutes later, the 40-pound girl was in the back of a police cruiser, under arrest for battery. Her hands were bound with plastic ties, her ankles in handcuffs.

"I don't want to go to jail," she said moments after her arrest Monday.

No charges were filed and the girl went home with her mother.

The school district was not too happy that the local police were summoned. Apparently, the correct procedure is to call the district's own police. The article did not indicate who had actually summoned the city police to the campus.

"We never want to have 5-year-old children arrested," said Michael Bessette, the district's Area III superintendent.

The district's campus police should have been called to help and not local police, he said.

Bessette said campus police routinely deal with children and are trained to calm them in such situations..

Predictably, the child's mother, Inda Akins, is consulting an attorney about a (you guessed it) lawsuit.

Update:(4/24) Get additional details about this story here.
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