A West Memphis, Arkansas, mother is outraged after learning her son was jailed for an afternoon after he disobeyed a teacher and police charged him with disorderly conduct.
Laura McChristian let her frustration be known when speaking to Fox 13 Monday, April 1, days after her 11-year-old son was arrested. Jaylen was flipping milk cartons at Maddux Elementary School the morning of March 28 and wouldn’t stop when a teacher told him to, his mother said.
“I’m thinking that when my son’s in jail he done got to fighting or did a terroristic threat,” says McChristian, who filed a citizen complaint with police days after her son’s arrest. “I’m thinking he done did something serious. For y’all to tell me something petty, it pissed me completely off.”
“I just feel like, if I was his teacher, [I would have said], well, you ain’t getting your recess or you ain’t going to the computer lab,” she continues. “I woulda took away something that he liked to do. … It’s still not fair to do an 11-year-old boy like that that didn’t do nothing.”
Jaylen’s mother said it was 11 a.m. before she knew her son had been arrested. A friend who works at the jail notified her that the child was in custody, according to McChristian. Jaylen was released at 4 p.m. that evening.
Records from the West Memphis Police Department state a police officer asked Jaylen why he was standing in the hallway. The child responded by saying “he doesn’t talk to police,” according to the report. Jaylen was told to go to the office and he did not; that’s when he was charged with disorderly conduct.
“I didn’t know it was against the law to say ‘I do not talk to police.’ That was non-violent, non-criminal activity. Y’all over-policed an 11-year-old,” his mother says.
“It was wrong for me to go to jail because I’m just 11 years old and I’m not supposed to be in a place like that,” Jaylen adds.
The West Memphis School District and Maddux Elementary School have yet to issue a response to McChristian’s story.
Jaylen’s mother says she’s now working with an attorney to resolve the issue with the school district.