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Six year old girl handcuffed for misbehaving


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  #1  
April 17th, 2012, 10:42 AM
Tammyjh's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Milledgeville Police Handcuff 6-Year-Old Girl for Misbehaving at School | 13wmaz.com
Quote:

According to the police report, kindergartner Salecia Johnson is accused of
tearing items off the walls and throwing furniture.


She was crying in the principal's office at Creekside Elementary before
police arrived Friday. The report says the girl knocked over a shelf that
injured the principal. It also says she was seen biting the door knob of the
office and jumping on the paper shredder. And, it says, she attempted to break a
glass frame above the shredder.


The report says when the officer tried to calm the child, she resisted and
was cuffed.


"Our policy is that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol
vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that
rule," said Milledgeville Chief of Police Dray Swicord.
Thoughts?
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  #2  
April 17th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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I would like to know more on the child's history. Has she been a problem at the school before?

Based on the response from the parents, I am thinking that perhaps the school did the right thing. The parents dismissed these actions as a "mood swing." This was not a mood swing. The child was being a danger to herself and others.
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  #3  
April 17th, 2012, 12:12 PM
Tammyjh's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Jennifer* View Post
Based on the response from the parents, I am thinking that perhaps the school did the right thing. The parents dismissed these actions as a "mood swing." This was not a mood swing. The child was being a danger to herself and others.
I know! I was stunned when I read mom's response. If the little girl did all the things that was reported, I hardly see that as "we all have bad days".
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  #4  
April 17th, 2012, 01:15 PM
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If my child had to be detained (and it made it to the news) I would be embarrassed. Of course I'm more realistic of a parent than this lady, and would have an action plan in place for if (when) something happens. The parents HAD to have know the child had some sort of anger or self control issues. A child doesn't attack several people and a small appliance out of the blue.
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  #5  
April 17th, 2012, 01:32 PM
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Though I'd like to see more of the child's history too, especially her school history and behavior, I'm more on the "this was probably the best option at the time, for the safety of ALL, including the girl" side of the fence, based just on what I see there.
That girl could have seriously hurt people and herself and I've done the bear hug, papoose method thousands of times on kids, it would not have likely been very effective on this child-given the people in the situation(ie, not likely trained, and this girl was seriously out of control). It might have caused more harm than good.

But you can't simply let a child act like that, you NEED to stop them, remove them from the situation, at least. In whatever way is safest for them, and anyone nearby. Not really worried about the material items nearby, they're not real important in the grand scheme.

Something tells me that family needs some serious intervention though.
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  #6  
April 17th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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I just cannot agree with this. The story says that when police arrived she was in the principal's office crying. Does that mean that the situation had been diffused up until they decided to slap cuffs on her?
Even though the story doesn't say whether or not she has been diagnosed with any emotional/behavioral/learning disability or disorder, I just don't believe that the behavior that the school alleges could be indicative of anything but.

I am just tired of reading these stories of police being called to schools to arrest children. This girl is six years old. If they had restrained her, even with the handcuffs, and given her the opportunity to calm down, that would have been one thing. To cuff the child and haul her off to jail--a six year old---I think is completely ridiculous and I can only imagine that it was completely traumatic.

I love how the cops said they were trying to calm her down and giving her coke. Because, why wouldn't caffeine help?
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  #7  
April 17th, 2012, 02:03 PM
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Yeah I agree, that's not a mood swing. A mood swing is to show verbal anger or outburst, not to get physical. I don't know about cuffing the child. I think that is a bit much. Taking her to the station, she might have needed that, especially if this isn't her first offense. She did end up being a danger to another person. So I can see the need for her removal and restraint, just not with cuffs all the way to the station. Also, how about the father? Was he contacted or did they just stop at the mother?
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  #8  
April 17th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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Police handcuff 6-year-old student in Georgia - CNN.com
A little more here
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  #9  
April 17th, 2012, 02:23 PM
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IDK what to make of this stuff anymore.
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  #10  
April 17th, 2012, 02:27 PM
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The fact that they could not get a hold of either parent, and the child had to be released to an aunt, is not exactly a good thing for them. Especially with her parents' comments of

Quote:
"Call the police? Is that the first step?" Johnson's mother, Constance Ruff, asked.
and
Quote:
"They don't have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child," said Salecia's father, Earnest Johnson.
No their first step was trying to get a hold of you, which they could not do. I mean, come on, the kid had to be released to an aunt. Her parents couldn't even be bothered to actually see what was wrong, what happened, and take care of their own child. I find it hard to believe neither of them could at least SPEAK to someone, if they couldn't leave work.(which, again, I find hard to believe, as it's their child and her safety, not some other nonsense thing).

Calling the police when a person is threatening the safety of both themselves and those around them is a safety precaution that, unfortunately, needs to be taken more often than not these days, for all kinds of reasons.
I wholeheartedly agree with the police officer's statement of
Quote:
Regardless of age, said Swicord, "When a person is put in handcuffs it's for their safety, it's not a punishment."
It's not a matter of a child throwing a minor tantrum. She did harm another person(though, as we can see, she was not charged), she did damage property, she did have the potential to harm both herself and others around her, she was doing things that put herself in SERIOUS harm's way. She needed to be restrained in some form, clearly. She wasn't handcuffed the moment the officer arrived. It wasn't until she started getting combative, again. It's pretty evident that the child needed to be helped before she really hurt someone severely.

If the officer had grabbed the child and held her until she calmed down, the parents would be pissed about them "touching" their child. How many people would be up in arms about ANY adult laying a hand on a child in this situation? I can bet a lot. Her parents likely included in that.
There are a lot of things they could have done that would have been extreme. I'm not so sure, given the severity of what she was doing. Putting her in handcuffs and taking her out of the situation to a place and awaiting her parents(who could not be reached) would fall under that in this case. That little girl was being downright violent.
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  #11  
April 17th, 2012, 03:19 PM
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RAW VIDEO: Salecia Johnson's Aunt Speaks on Handcuffing | Video Library | Lansing State Journal
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  #12  
April 17th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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Well, conflicting stories is a great place to start. The aunt claims in Stacey's video the girl was put in a holding cell and in the CNN article the police chief said she wasn't.

Assuming everything in the CNN article is accurate I think the police and the school did the right thing and I agree with everything Michelle has said. Just what "other interventions" does this girl's family think the school should try when the girl is biting doorknobs and jumping on a paper shredder?
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  #13  
April 17th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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The aunt said the principal told her and the mother that she completely calmed down and stopped as soon as she saw the cops and that she even apologized to the principal and cried for her mother. From what I am gathering, the police arrested her because they were charging her with a crime. They decided to later drop the charges because of her age.
I still say this went too far. Suspend her, expel her, whatever. The precedent being set on a national level for having small children arrested, to me, is a bit frightening.
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  #14  
April 17th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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If they hadn't handcuffed her, what would the other options be? Use a Straight-jacket? Zip-tie her hands? Hold her until she settled down?

Assuming that she did settle down when the cops showed up, and stopped acting like that, I don't think the police should have done anything.
But assuming that she continued throwing a fit when the cops came, I think they were well within their right to put her in handcuffs and take her to the station. She was physically harming other people, and damaging property. It was probably the safest option to handcuff her. Plus, like Michelle said, if they had tried to stop her by touching her- everyone would have issues with that.
It's almost a lose-lose situation for the cops.
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  #15  
April 17th, 2012, 05:18 PM
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But even if she wasn't doing anything when the police got there, if the decision was made that the girl was going to be criminally charged, then arresting her is the natural next step in the sequence of events. I don't know who made the decision to press charges in this case, but the police were doing the job they were called to do.
There are just too many unanswered questions for me to have a strong opinion about this. It seems harsh but it also seems everyone was backed into a corner. And just where the hell were the parents?
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  #16  
April 17th, 2012, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cereal Killer View Post
I just cannot agree with this. The story says that when police arrived she was in the principal's office crying. Does that mean that the situation had been diffused up until they decided to slap cuffs on her?
Even though the story doesn't say whether or not she has been diagnosed with any emotional/behavioral/learning disability or disorder, I just don't believe that the behavior that the school alleges could be indicative of anything but.

I am just tired of reading these stories of police being called to schools to arrest children. This girl is six years old. If they had restrained her, even with the handcuffs, and given her the opportunity to calm down, that would have been one thing. To cuff the child and haul her off to jail--a six year old---I think is completely ridiculous and I can only imagine that it was completely traumatic.

I love how the cops said they were trying to calm her down and giving her coke. Because, why wouldn't caffeine help?
ITA.

And if the aunt is to be believed and was on the contact list, why on earth was the aunt not called immediately after the failed attempt at reaching the parents. I know for my 6 yo, he has to have at least two other local contacts listed besides the parents. The aunt seems like a much more appropriate call for the school officials to make rather than going straight to the police.
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  #17  
April 17th, 2012, 11:13 PM
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That's a big part of why I'm not certain I believe at least some of what the aunt has said. Because it seems likely the school should have been able to get a hold of her, much faster. Unless it simply took so long for someone to get a hold of her too, and by that point the child was already with the police.

There are some situations when schools need to call authorities, based on their policies alone. And they can't, well won't, simply pick and choose. Whether I agree with the policies or not, some schools have them and having your children enrolled there makes you obligated to them as much as they are. I think that very well may have played a role here. Or at least, it's plausible that it did.

Physical altercations can lead to more severe measures, especially ones that actually lead to someone being harmed. Though it was minor, obviously, it may have fallen under whatever guidelines that school has, requiring them to call in authorities. We'd have to see their policies I guess, to know.
I know there's plenty of schools here(this state, not just this area) that physical altercations that rapidly get out of control will lead to authorities or on-site security being called. Even if in the end it might not have seemed necessary.

There was a kid in a school not far from here a few years ago that was escorted away by the police(not in cuffs, but he was in them before, until he calmed down) after hurting at least one other kid. They had to call the cops the kid was throwing things, threw a chair into the glass display in the hall, knocked another kid into a cement platform thing, was screaming, etc.. Kids in the halls had to be escorted back into the gym until they got him under control. His parents weren't MIA though, they were actually there pretty quick. He still went to the station, still got suspended, he's darn lucky they didn't charge him with anything as they COULD have. He was older, he was 8 I think, but still, behavior like that is not mild, and not typical.

So what this girl did might not have been as bad as that, but there's no way to determine that it would not have been, had the police not been called, either.
I don't believe the Aunt when she says the principal told her and the girl's mother that the girl had calmed down the way she says. I don't believe her because the officer clearly said that the girl started back up with the behavior he was called there for in the first place, once he got there. I'm more inclined to believe him.

I don't give the parents any credibility at all in this. They have time to speak to reporters, but no time to speak to authorities, at all? Yeah I think there's more than meets the eye to this family and having the cops called on the little girl, which lead to further and constant evaluation and check ins by someone, is likely just what she needs at this time. Probably what they all need too. Doesn't seem like her parents are paying her much mind. I can't help but feel bad for her.

I also feel bad for the school because it wouldn't matter how they dealt with this little girl, someone would find it wrong. If they had let her flail about, hurting herself and other people, throwing things, standing on a freaking shredder, trying to break glass things, actually breaking other things...people would be pissed. If they used any sort of physical restraint, people would be pissed. What really could they have done that people would find ok? We're not talking about a child simply screaming, or throwing a typical tantrum. It's a violent outburst...totally different.
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  #18  
April 18th, 2012, 05:16 AM
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Not that it makes a difference in my opinion, but it looks like she wasn't detained by the school, but cuffed by the police to be put in the car is that correct?
If that's the case I guess the question is - is what she did enough for a 6 year old to be hauled down town?
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  #19  
April 18th, 2012, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredmom View Post
ITA.

And if the aunt is to be believed and was on the contact list, why on earth was the aunt not called immediately after the failed attempt at reaching the parents. I know for my 6 yo, he has to have at least two other local contacts listed besides the parents. The aunt seems like a much more appropriate call for the school officials to make rather than going straight to the police.
Exactly! At my kid's school, I have to list three!
I am just not as willing as everyone else to blindly accept the school's story and completely discount the girl's family. Why do the school and police refuse to comment on what initiated this alleged freak out?
This girl is six years old! I have a six year old. Now, I can't imagine him EVER acting out to this degree BUT this girl was calming down and, allegedly, completely pulled it together once the police showed up and it wasn't until the police officers began handling her that she began resisting again. My six year old gets nervous when the DOCTOR wants to take his temperature or blood pressure. He just gets nervous and anxious because of the stranger factor and I am right there with him. I can only imagine how scared he would be if a police officer--multiple officers--hell, any stranger, were to close in on him and were touching him. He would freak the F out.
The story of the aunt and police match that the tantrum was all but over when police arrived. So, again, how was slapping cuffs on her and dragging a six year old child to the police station necessary?
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  #20  
April 18th, 2012, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cereal Killer View Post

I love how the cops said they were trying to calm her down and giving her coke. Because, why wouldn't caffeine help?

Isn't Pumpkin's husband a police officer? Just asking....
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