6-year-old girl cuffed, sent to mental institution
Last week, A 6-year-old girl in Port St. Lucie, Florida who was disruptive at school, was handcuffed by a sheriff’s deputy.
The police report said the girl “was crying and saying that the handcuffs hurt.” She had pulled one of her hands partially out of the cuffs, so it was around her thumb and hand, rather than her wrist, “causing discomfort,” the report said.
According to a story in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the girl was having a “temper tantrum…hitting school officials, screaming and kicking.”
On Tuesday, after the principal, who is pregnant, said the girl had kicked her in the stomach, the deputy took her to “a mental facility.”
First question: Why were the police called in for what seems like a fairly routine school disciplinary problem? What did the school do before calling the police?
Second question: Did the school check with the school psychologist before calling the police?
Third question: Was there any reason to suspect the girl’s tantrums were evidence of mental illness?
“These people are going to the extreme,” the girl’s mother said.
Surely there was a better way to handle the situation than turning the girl over to police and a mental institution. But this kind of incident is not uncommon. Schools, tragically, so not know how to handle disruptive kids, and they’re all too ready to hand the problem off to someone else.
As I noted in my previous post, juvenile detention centers in New York State are criminally unprepared to handle mentally ill detainees. Schools, incidents like this one suggest, are similarly ill equipped to handle their charges.