When parents send their children to school, they think they are entrusting them to professionals who are trained to educate the children and keep them safe. Parents also think that when children exhibit disruptive behavior, which is to be expected when dealing with children, the school has professionals who can manage the behavior. Why then would would a school call the police to deal with a 10 year old child? Why would the police treat the child like a violent criminal?
Police officers handcuffed and pinned down a 10-year-old girl for climbing on school desks and up a tree.
The girl’s age and her autistic condition didn’t seem to matter to the officers who chose to handle her like a hardened criminal. Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that the girl’s Jefferson Parish school in Louisiana called the police after she had an “outburst” in the classroom.
The school not only reached out to the police, but also to the girl’s grandmother. However, by the time her grandmother arrived at the school, the officers had responded and were dragging the child and pressing her face against the ground. The girl even shouted that she couldn’t breathe, but the police officers didn’t respond.
That experience startled the autistic student so much that she now says she fears the police and is wondering why they hate her.
Why the police reacted roughly toward a child isn’t clear, but the incident prompted the SPLC to ask the Department of Justice to look into the matter.
SPLC is the same body that raised complaints three years ago about the high number of Black kids who were being arrested for violating minor rules in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public School System. SPLC now reveals that the situation has worsened.
“If law enforcement officers are on school grounds at all, they should be there in a very limited capacity — to protect children in the unlikely event of some kind of violent attack,” a representative of SPLC said. “But, as in many other places across the country, school authorities have inappropriately handed off their responsibility to administer routine school discipline to the police.”
The complaints didn’t just end with the arrest cases but also touched on how the police treated the arrested students. SPLC complained that the detained minors were harassed and physically abused by the police officers.
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