In an extremely bizarre incident, a 7-year-old student in Miami, Florida, was handcuffed, arrested and later taken for a psych evaluation all without the consent of his parents.
His alleged crime: getting in a fight with a teacher.
The unnamed first-grader from a Miami elementary school was caught on video being taken in custody by police officers, following an altercation with his teacher.
The parents are naturally upset over the unsatisfactory way the school dealt with the situation.
“I feel like my heart is broken,” lamented the boy’s mother, Mercy Alvarez.
“I was in shock. Shock,” said his father, Rolando Fuentes.
It all started at the Coral Way K-8 Center, when the student was taken away from the school’s cafeteria because he was playing with his food. According to the police, the boy repeatedly punched the teacher in the hallway.
After the child was restrained by a school resource officer, he continued fighting with his female teacher using his fists and legs. This resulted in the teacher falling down on the ground, but the student continued attacking her and grabbed her by the hair before finally being restrained, according to the officials.
Eventually, the child calmed down and was taken to the principal’s office.
However, instead of being suspended, the teacher called for the child’s arrest because she thought he was a danger to the society.
Yes, you read that right: a 7-year-old was a danger to the society.
“(She) says he’s a danger to society,” said his father Rolando Fuentes. “I said, ‘What? Seven years old? A danger to society?’”
Fuentes’ son was arrested, even though the parents had already met with the principal and the counselors had agreed their son would be suspended for 10 days. But police said they had to arrest the child or take him for a psychiatric evaluation.
According to Alvarez, her son was previously accused of kicking a teacher after being scolded in November, but a psychologist found no mental health issues.
“He does not have a mental disorder,” Alvarez said.
The parents think their son was being bullied at the school and that he was not strong enough to knock down his teacher.
What is even more disturbing is the first-grader was detained under the Florida Mental Health Act (Baker Act) and then hospitalized without his parents’ consent.
He was discharged hours later.
Now, the parents want answers from the police officers because handcuffing a 7-year-old was way out of line.
“We have to make justice,” said Fuentes.
The school has also released a statement:
“This action was warranted to prevent his erratic and violent behavior from bringing further harm to others or himself,” said Miami-Dade Schools Police Ian Moffett. “The manner in which he was transported to the receiving facility was done in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures.”
It is pertinent to note that many students — especially the younger ones — sometimes get hyper and misbehave with teachers or students around them, which can be attributed to numerous reasons. However, a school’s job is not to treat them like criminals but invest in transforming them in to well-behaved children.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson