A six-year-old first grade student at Pine Ridge Elementary school in Stone Mountain, Ga., was put into handcuffs Friday by a resource officer for misbehaving.
“My husband got a call that something was going on with Patrick at school, and they needed us to come,” Reid told WXIA. “We go into the school and a gentleman takes us back. I hear my son yelling and screaming.”
At a time when schools across the nation are under close scrutiny for putting young Black children into the criminal justice system for minor offenses, using handcuffs on a 6-year-old has to be considered extreme behavior by school officials.
The child’s mother, Lakaisha Reid, photographed the bruises she found on her son’s wrists from the handcuffs. She says her son is a special needs child and was upset that handcuffs were used on him.
“He just ran away from school,” Reid said. “That does not require handcuffs.”
Patrick told WXIA that it still hurts when he touches his wrist.
“These were handcuffs behind the back; silver handcuffs, metal,” she said.
The Dekalb County School District issued a statement that said the child was placed in a room with a special education teacher and School Resource Officer (SRO) after running out of the school and into a public street. The statement said, “the student was scratching, kicking and hitting school personnel and continued to exhibit violent behavior, running into walls, banging his head on tables and placing his health at risk.”
The SRO handcuffed the student “to protect him from harming himself,” the statement reads.
Reid said that police officers need to be trained to handle young children and young children with special needs. Reid told WXIA that Patrick was not going to go to school on Monday.
“He’s just a six-year-old kid. I don’t think that was the appropriate way of dealing with that,” she said.
School officials said that they do have protocols for dealing with these kinds of situations, but every one is unique.