Is It Ever Appropriate to Handcuff a Child?

A six-year-old girl in Georgia was handcuffed for throwing a tantrum at school. Did police go too far?

By Lauren Sena

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Photography from iStockphoto.com

Six-year-old Salecia Johnson was handcuffed at school recently, raising the question of whether it is ever appropriate to handcuff a child. According to a report by the Toronto Star, Johnson had a tantrum at her school in Milledgeville, Georgia, throwing a small shelf that hit her principal’s leg, as well as jumping on a paper shredder and attempting to break a glass frame.

This isn’t the first time a child has been handcuffed in the United States. A young girl was arrested after she had a tantrum during a math exercise involving jelly beans. A similar incidence occurred in Canada, when a boy who was being teased by classmates lashed out and was consequently restrained.

Civil rights watchdogs say, “Kids are being arrested for being kids.” Johnson’s aunt, Candace Ruff, said that the child “was so shaken up” following the commotion.

While no charges were laid, Johnson has been suspended for the remainder of the school year.

What do you think about this issue? Is the handcuffing of a child ever justifiable?

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