Crisis Intervention & Restraint Training

Kindergartner Handcuffed and Arrested by GA Police

Kindergartner Handcuffed and Arrested by GA Police

Kindergartner Handcuffed and Arrested by GA Police

Salecia Johnson, a 6-year-old girl, was recently arrested at school, handcuffed, placed in the back of a police car, and taken to the station after “throwing furniture, tearing items off the walls and knocking over a shelf, which injured the principal,” according to this article.

Salecia’s parents are very upset. They feel the school had “no business calling the police and handcuffing” their child. But, the police did try calling them several times, and their daughter was biting door knobs, jumping on a paper shredder, and trying to break glass frames.

This is not the first time a child this young has been arrested and handcuffed; however, school officials all over the nation are struggling – what should the rules be? If the child is a danger to herself and to those around her, and you can’t calm her down, and you can’t reach her parents, what do you do?

In the end, Salecia was charged with assault and damage to property, but won’t have to go to court because of her age. She was also suspended from school for the remainder of the school year.

Salecia’s mother said, “She has mood swings some days, which all of us have mood swings some days. I guess that was just one of her bad days.”

I have a few things to say about this.

First off – and, honestly, no offense to these parents – but, I’m sorry; you guess this was “just one of her bad days”? That is seriously what you told the reporters?  I know the bigger issue here is whether or not the police should be able to handcuff children this young. But for some reason, my mind hasn’t even had a chance to consider that part.

I’m still reeling over the fact that a 6-year-old can cause this much damage and upset. I wonder if the other children in her kindergarten class were injured or affected. I’m staggering over her parent’s reaction. I’d probably be livid if my daughter was handcuffed and taken to the station too (Can you imagine how scary that must have been for her?).  But I’d also be livid at my daughter for such a horrible display of behavior! And I have to think that this could not have been a behavior shocker for her parents; and if that is the case, why isn’t this child seeing someone professional!?

And, I’d like to think that if I ever find myself in this mother’s position, I’d tell the press, “I’m sorry. My daughter apparently has some serious issues needing immediate attention. Please find it in your heart to forgive her actions, remember her age, and stand by me – and any other families out there with troubled children – as I embark on what I’m sure will be a long journey for our family. I just want my daughter to get healthy, and to have a chance at becoming the happy girl I know is inside of her.”  Or something like that; but not “I guess this was just one of her bad days.”

What do you think?


Original Publication Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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