Video Fuels Debate Over School Punishment

The ACLU has recently filed a lawsuit against a school in the Covington Independent Public Schools District. The reason is due to a video that shows an 8-year-old boy sitting in a chair whimpering, with metal handcuffs clasped to his arms. Two mothers filed the lawsuit, alleging that school resource officer Kevin Sumner, a Kenton County deputy sheriff, handcuffed two children, the 8-year-old boy in the video and another 9-year-old girl in school at the Covington Independent Public Schools district. Both children have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and are identified in court records only by their initials. Because the handcuffs were too big for the chidren's wrists, Sumner put the cuffs around their biceps.

In the video, the 52 pound boy can be heard crying "Ow, that hurts." The deputy can be heard saying "You can do what we asked you to, or you can suffer the consequences." David Shapiro, who leads the National Juvenile Defender Center's campaign against child shackling, said of his reaction when he first saw the video, "It was hard to breathe. As someone who has acted out in class before, I really felt for that child. That's not the way to treat any child, in school, in court, or anywhere." Steven C. Teske, a Georgia juvenile court judge who has led the charge to reduce restraints in schools, said "Oh my goodness. Oh, no, this is not good." The boy was removed from class for failing to follow his teacher's instructions. When Sumner arrived, he took him to the bathroom and the boy tried to hit Sumner with his elbow.

Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn defended his deputy by saying School administrators' asked for his help after their "efforts to de-escalate and defuse a threat to others had proven unsuccessful. Deputy Sumner responded to the call and did what he is sworn to do and in conformity with all constitutional and law enforcement standards." Kentucky state regulations ban school officials from restraining students in a public school unless the "students' behavior poses an imminent danger of physical harm to self or others."

Photo: New York Daily News

Tell Us What You Think

More News Stories

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a group of atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers that is based in Wisconsin. Rather than being content...

Being a waiter or waitress at a restaurant is a tough job. You have to be on your feet for long periods of time, walking back and forth, often...

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Donald Trump’s most outspoken Republican critics, agrees with the president when it comes to fearing Muslims,...

The day before Iowans hold their presidential caucuses, Republican candidate Ben Carson unveiled a five-point plan to reform the nation’s...

A high school student in British Colombia, Canada showed his father a recent school assignment. The lesson was about political parties and what...