Sit Down Like I Asked You Too: 8 Year Old with ADHD Handcuffed

In Kentucky, from the NYT:

The A.C.L.U. released what it called a “disturbing video” showing the boy, who it said weighs about 52 pounds, crying as the resource officer handcuffed his arms at the biceps behind his back. In the video, the officer tells the boy, “You don’t get to swing at me like that.”
The boy has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; the girl has the disorder and other “special needs,” according to the lawsuit. It says both children are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act, and alleges that the school resource officer, who it says shackled the boy once and the girl twice in 2014, violated both the disabilities act and the children’s constitutional rights.

Mother Jones adds:

Two videos accompanying the lawsuit show a November 2014 incident in which Sumner tells an 8-year-old Latino student, identified as S.R. in the lawsuit, to “Sit down like I asked you to” while handcuffing him as the child cries and expresses that he’s in pain. Earlier that year, Sumner allegedly detained L.G., a 9-year-old African American student, in the back of his cruiser, after she disrupted the classroom and was requested to be escorted to an in-school suspension room. The lawsuit also details two subsequent incidents in which Sumner handcuffed L.G., one of which resulted in L.G. going to a hospital for psychiatric assessment and treatment.

I wrote on the #cultofcompliance in our schools here, for Al Jazeera:

For those like Kayleb who live at the intersection of race and disability, these manifestations of what I call the cult of compliance can destroy lives. It threatens anyone who might fall outside the dominant norms. The cultural forces that punish diversity aren’t new. In the past, however, such perceived deviance might have met with bullying from peers or various forms of exclusion by teachers and other staffers. Today, jail beckons.

There are two major factors at work. First, the rise of zero-tolerance policies strips school officials of the ability to exercise common sense, leading security expert Bruce Schneier to call them “zero-discretion” policies. Such policies have long been criticizedas being unfair to marginalized groups of all sorts. Second, SROs have increasingly been deployed on school grounds over the last few decades, a process that keeps intensifying after high-profile school shootings such as Columbine (1999) and Sandy Hook (2012). Meanwhile, SROs are experiencing mission creep. While de-escalation is usually the optimal response to challenging behavior situations, many teachers and administrators instead respond by calling in an SRO to apply restraints and arrest the student, thereby starting the process of criminalization. That’s how the school-to-prison pipeline begins.

Leave a Reply