Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Handcuffing A 6-Year Old? Absolutely...and Here's Why.

I sometimes live for these kinds of stories as I know how polarizing they can be.  I like to hear the opinions of others as I simply point out what's been written or reported, then add my own take on the situation.  This is a great story simply because of the many facets involved.  Here, in a not-so-abridged version, is the story: Police in Milledgeville, GA were called to an elementary school on Friday for an unruly juvenile, 6-year-old Salecia Johnson, who was, "throwing a tantrum."  According to the responding officer's report, he found young Salecia lying on the principal's floor screaming and crying.  The officer also noted that, upon arriving at the school, he noticed damage to school property.  After trying several times to calm the girl, she, "pulled away and began actively resisting and fighting with me."  The Chief of Police later stated that, "The child was then placed in handcuffs for her safety and the officer proceeded to bring her down to the police station."  Now, before I leave you under the false impression that this child was lying on the floor crying and screaming because finger-painting wasn't going well, let me share the rest of her actions as noted by school personnel and the responding officer.  His report goes on to add that the child's behavior included throwing furniture, including a shelf which struck the principal.  She was biting the doorknob of the office and jumping on the paper shredder, as well as attempting to break a glass frame above the shredder.  Okay, I think it's safe to say this kindergartener was doing more than simply throwing a tantrum.  She was in full-blown 'tear it up' mode.  Here, in my opinion, is where the story gets polarizing.

Regardless of how this girl acted, her family said the police should NOT have been involved.  I know, I know....I'm getting there.  Wait for it?  So anyway, the child's aunt, Candace Ruff, told the CNN affiliate station that, "I don't think she misbehaved to the point where she should have been handcuffed and taken down to the police department."  Here comes another KEY POINT - the child was released to her aunt after numerous attempts to reach her parents failed.  The police department has still not heard from her parents, however (here it comes) the parents have found time to speak to reporters.  Her mother's questions to WMAZ were, "Call the police?  Is that the first step?"  She also wondered if there was any other knd of intervention the school could have attempted with her daughter.  The father, on the other hand, was quick with comments, not questions.  "They don't have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child."  The child, when taken to the police station, was never placed in a holding cell or jail cell, and her safety was the most important thing.  After being initially charged with simple battery of a school teacher and criminal damage to property, the Chief said today that the child would NOT be charged because of her age.  End of basic story - let's move on to my take on this.  Below is the link of the television interview.


Are you kidding me???  Before you ask, "Which part?" please know that I am talking about the child's behavior and the parents reaction.  This is why we have fewer and fewer people going into education.  We have removed corporal punishment from the schools, allowed children that are not being disciplined at home to act out at school, then blame the school for not being able to handle these juvenile delinquents.  Okay, this girl is six.  Does anyone think, especially with the reactions of her parents, that it will get better? I will be amazed if there isn't legal action taken against the school.  I will also be highly irritated if a judge does not slap the parents and throw out the suit.  In this case, I think the principal should sue THE PARENTS for the abuse by their child.  Yes....seriously.  We have teachers that cannot do their job and it affects MY child if they are in the classroom.  How these parents can justify the actions of their child or not see the severity of it still amazes me.  They could not be reached by the school, couldn't find time to call the police, yet spoke loudly and quickly to a television camera.  I wonder if the parents might have put the child yup to these actions.  Far-fetched?  I'm not so sure anymore.  It's time we either hold the parents accountable or change the laws.  If we don't want anyone touching their precious children when they are unruly and dangerous, fine.  The courts must hold them accountable.  If you won't discipline them at home, however, someone better.  This is why our children act this way in 2012.  No discipline at home, blame everyone else for the problems, then bitch when someone takes the initiative to fix it.  I think you all get my point.

Dear Mr & Mrs Ruff...and Aunt Candace,
It's time to take this girl home and whack her bottom a few times, put her in time out, take away the goodies you've given her all her life...ANYTHING that will make her understand her actions were horribly unacceptable.  This is the real world and there are real consequences for your actions.  My guess, though, is that the two (or three) of you had little or no consequence to your actions growing up.  You were raised in a time when you, too, could not be spanked because it's child abuse.  You grew up in a tie when you can swear at your parents...and they can do nothing.  You grew up in a time when you can threaten a teacher...and no one did anything to change it.  Please, for the sake of all of us (including your sweet little daughter), discipline her now so that we don't wind up on the wrong end of her toting an AK-47 through the suburbs OR she doesn't wind up in a dumpster because she acted this way to the wrong people.

Yeah, this is one of those situations that infuriates me.  Society is bearing the brunt of those that should not be parents in the first place.  This needs to stop.  Now.  Right now.

Until next time...............

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