I realize that headline sounds like a Nancy Grace special, but in the last 24 hours, I’ve heard about two cases — one in Oakland and one in San Jose — in which kids under 15 were handcuffed at school.
Are these isolated incidents, or do they happen more than the public (and certain members of the press) knows about?
Oakland case: At the school board meeting last night, the parents of a former Montera Middle School student spoke out about the time their son was restrained by a security officer.
According to the district’s account, the boy was sent to the office after disrupting the class. When a security guard and an assistant principal tried to take him into a conference room, the boy physically tried to prevent the AP from unlocking the door, and the security officer cuffed him.
District officials say the incident has been thoroughly investigated, and that it was determined that the officer acted appropriately. But the parents aren’t satisfied with the investigation. They say their son did not pose a real threat, and that he was the target of ongoing harassment. (He now goes to another school in the district.)
“It was not OK for my son to be placed in handcuffs,” his father said.
Then, this morning: I heard about another controversial handcuff incident in San Jose involving an 11-year-old autistic student who refused to leave P.E. class.
I guess it’s tough to judge these situations unless you witnessed the events leading up to the decision — and I, for one, would not like to be in the shoes of a security officer — but it does raise questions:
Should security guards carry handcuffs at all? For what age groups? And if they are only to be used as a “last resort,” how should that be defined?
image from notsogoodphotography’s Web site at flickr.com/creativecommons