6-Year-Old Girl Handcuffed for Taking Candy at School, Reinforces Harsh Discipline Practices for Black Girls

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Screen grab from NBC Chicago interview
Screen grab from NBC Chicago interview

A 6-year-old Chicago area student was handcuffed for allegedly taking candy from her teacher’s desk.

According to NBC News Chicago, Madisyn Moore was subjected to humiliating and excessive force from the school security guard for taking two pieces of candy. He reportedly kept her in custody for almost an hour.

“They hurted,” said Madisyn, a Fernwood Elementary school student. “He snatched me out of my class. He made me get out in my handcuffs.”

The young girl’s mother, Marlena Wordlaw, confronted the man about the incident. The officer said he was “trying to teach them to stop taking stuff that don’t belong to them.”

“When he pulled her from under [the] stairs she was crying,” Wordlaw said. “He told me, ‘I’m doing my job, I’m trying to teach her a lesson.’ ”

The principal has apologized for the incident, but the Chicago Public Schools has yet to make a formal statement.

Instances like this are common in schools nationwide.

Researchers at the African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies found that Black girls were six times more likely to be suspended than their white counterparts.

The “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” study was published in the midst of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement. This push for Black racial progress has carried over into the study.

According to the researchers’ findings, Black female students are punished disproportionately — in fact 12 percent of Black girls involved in the study had been suspended from school, compared to just 2 percent of white girls.

The study shows the racial biases in the educational system. In New York, the number of disciplinary cases involving Black girls was over 10 times more than those involving white girls. In Boston, it was 11 times more.

Another 2015 study from the University of Pennsylvania showed that Black children in K-12 public schools are more likely to be suspended in a southern state.

“Black children comprise, on average 24 percent of students in 3,022 districts examined in the region, which includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia,” reports Atlanta Blackstar. 

In the schools they studied, nearly 55 percent of the school suspensions of Black students occurred in the South. Last year alone, there were an estimated 1.2 million Black students suspended.

The idea that there is a school-to-prison pipeline is reinforced with Madisyn’s story. School officials overreacted and could have handled the situation with more tact.

 

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