By Rhonda Ramsey,
P.O.V. Contributing Writer
At Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, GA, the family of a six-year-old kindergartner named Salecia Johnson is upset and disappointed with both police and school officials. Salecia was handcuffed and taken to a police station for allegedly throwing furniture, tearing items off the walls and knocking over a shelf, which injured the principal.
"A six-year-old in kindergarten?" Earnest Johnson, the father of Salecia Johnson, asked. “A six-year-old in kindergarten? They have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child," he told WMAZ-TV.
But according to Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord there is no age discrimination in the “rules.”
“Our policy states 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."
Johnson's aunt, Candace Ruff, said that her niece "might have misbehaved, but I don't think she actually misbehaved to the point that she should have been handcuffed and taken downtown to the police department. Call the police? Is that the first step? Or is there any other kind of intervention that can be taken to help that child."
Ruff also claimed that Salecia was alone in a holding cell and complained about the handcuffs hurt her wrists.
"She said they were really tight. She said they really hurt her wrists," Ruff told the Associated Press. "She was so shaken up when we went there to pick her up."
Swicord denies that the child was in a holding cell. The Associated Press reported that he said she was held in the department's squad room and given a Coke.
I don’t know about you, but I am not sure what to say. I am imagining this “tantrum.” I am wondering where all of this rage is coming from, and I may never know. But I cannot imagine a six-year-old in handcuffs.
So what do you think? If you are unable to restrain a six-year-old and the child is “out of control”, should she/he be handcuffed? What about if it was your own school-aged child? What would you think? And let us ponder this beyond the tantrum or the initial feeling many of us may have; that our child would not act this way.
What do you think of a six-year-old being handcuffed?