Georgia Police stood by their decision to handcuff and arrest a 6-year-old elementary student after the school called police to report that a student assaulted a principal and was damaging school property, according to CNN.
A Milledgeville police officer said that he was called to Creekside Elementary School on Friday to confront the 6-year-old girl who was allegedly throwing a tantrum.
When the officer arrived, he said that kindergartener, Salecia Johnson, was on the floor of the principal's office screaming and crying, according to the police report.
Further, the officer said that he incessantly tried to calm Johnson down, but she "pulled away and began actively resisting and fighting with me."
"The child was then placed in handcuffs for her safety and the officer proceeded to bring her down to the police station," said Chief Dray Swicord.
Although the child was out-of-line, family members believe that the police should never have been involved in the first place.
"I don't think she misbehaved to the point where she should have been handcuffed and taken downtown to the police department," said Johnson's aunt, Candace Ruff. Johnson was released to Ruff after police could not get into touch with her parents.
Swicord said his department has yet to hear from the girl's mother or father.
However, Johnson's parents have voiced their concerns to the media.
"Call the police? Is that the first step?" questioned Johnson's mother, Constance Ruff.
"They don't have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child," said Johnson's father, Earnest Johnson.
Swicord said, "When a person is put in handcuffs it's for their safety, it's not a punishment," no matter that person's age.
The police report also stated that Johnson threw furniture, including a small shelf, which struck the principal on the leg.
Others observed Johnson "biting the doorknob of the office and jumping on the paper shredder," and said that she had "attempted to break a glass frame above the shredder."
"I noticed the damage to school property and possible assault of other students and staff," stated the responding officer in the police report.
Creekside officials have yet to publicly comment on the incident.
Johnson's mother said her daughter has been suspended from school until August, which means that her days in kindergarten are now over.
Even though Johnson was originally charged with simple juvenile battery of a schoolteacher and criminal damage to property, the police chief said she will not be charged because of her age.
"The student was never placed in a holding cell, or jail cell, and the student's safety was the utmost importance," said Swicord.
Police notified the Department of Family and Children's Services about the incident, who will now monitor her behavior.
Generally we associate kindergarteners with finger-painting, taking post-lunch naps, and in the most egregious circumstances horsing around a little too physically at recess.
Accordingly, handcuffing and arresting a 6-year-old kid is not something that we consider an everyday occurrence.
I understand Johnson's family's beef with calling law enforcement personnel.
Yet, school officials are responsible for the safety of all of their students and if the principal felt that Johnson posed a risk to herself and the other students, I also understand her decision to call the cops.
Further, had the principal instead acted to physically apprehend Johnson she could have possibly faced potential liability if the child was subsequently hurt.
On the other hand, some may ask, "what real harm could a kindergartener cause?"
That seems to be a question that the principal did not want to have an answered.
Thus, although the 911 call may have been premature it thankfully prevented Johnson from causing any real harm.
What do you think?
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