NYC tops Florida with arrest of five-year-old kindergarten student
In a previous post, I railed against a sheriff’s deputy in Port St. Lucie, Florida, for cuffing a 6-year-old girl who was having a “temper tantrum,” and carting her off to “a mental facility.”
Now I’ll confess that I took a certain smug satisfaction in pointing a finger at Florida, while pecking away at my computer in New York City, where we’re far more civilized.
So much for smug satisfaction. New York City school safety officers have apparently topped Port St. Lucie by cuffing a 5-year-old boy. Congratulations, New York!
“In January 2008,” Op-Ed colunist Bob Herbert writes in The New York Times, “a 5-year-old kindergarten pupil became unruly at a public school in Queens. A public safety officer, seeing her duty, pounced. She handcuffed the boy who was then shipped off to a hospital psychiatric ward. A 5-year-old!” (Emphasis is Herbert’s.)
That’s just one of the inexplicable arrests Herbert notes in his column. Two sixth-graders in the Bronx were arrested and taken to the local precinct by an armed police officer after each drawing a line on the other’s desk with magic markers. Erasable magic markers, no less. The students were sent to get tissues to erase the lines when school safety officers seized them. Herbert does not relate what must have been the riveting scene in which the sixth-graders were disarmed of their magic markers.
In another episode, a 12-year-old was arrested for doodling on her desk with an erasable marker. Students are already prohibited from bringing cell phones to school; let’s ban these damn erasable markers. Am I to expect that my tax dollars will be wasted on tissue to clean up magic marker doodles? Lock those kids up!
These incidents have come to light in lawsuits brought by students’ families. How many other incidents have gone unreported because the families chose not to sue or didn’t have the means to sue? Considering the expense and effort required to file a lawsuit, would it be too big a leap to surmise that this situation is far worse for poor kids in New York than for kids whose parents can afford to bring such a suit?
Port St. Lucie’s policy of apparently waiting until its students are six before cuffing them looks enlightened compared to New York’s five-year-old arrest.
What is the phrase I’m looking for here…