Police in Milledgeville, Ga. are defending an officer's decision to handcuff a 6-year-old on Tuesday as she threw at major tantrum at Creekside Elementary School. When the officer arrived, kindergartner Salecia Johnson was on the office floor screaming and crying.
Just before, the girl reportedly threw a bookshelf at the principal and stomped on a paper shredder. The officer tried to calm her down, but she began fighting with him. At this point, he placed the 6-year-old in handcuffs "for her safety."
No one knows what caused Salecia Johnson to throw such a major fit and whether the school tried to contact her parents before calling police. Police, however, did try to contact her parents before taking her to the station, according to the department. Once there, she was put in the squad room -- not a holding cell.
But as you can tell from the following interview, the girl's parents and aunt are still mad:
These sorts of incidents are becoming more common. No one is exactly sure why, but the Associated Press reports that some believe it is a combination of zero-tolerance policies, a lack of understanding on the school's part, and an increased police presence on campus.
Regardless, there may be times when law enforcement may legally handcuff a 6-year-old. This generally includes situations in which the child poses a threat to herself or those around her. If the officer thought Salecia Johnson would resume the throwing of furniture, then he probably did nothing wrong. At least not legally.
- Kindergartener Cuffed After Tantrum in Principal's Office (ABC News)
- Children's Rights (FindLaw)
- First Grader Handcuffed After Easter Egg Tantrum (FindLaw Blotter)