Monday, January 3, 2011

Sixth Grader Handcuffed at Elementary/Middle School in Shreveport

From our friends at ACLU of Louisiana:

Today the ACLU of Louisiana requested records from the Caddo Parish School Board and Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School, seeking information about handcuffing children at school. Acting in response to the handcuffing of a sixth grader four days after the child was hit by another student at the school bus stop, the ACLU wants to know why the child was handcuffed by the police at school, and why police action was taken days after the child was a victim of an attack by another student.

“School discipline problems should be resolved by school disciplinarians, not by turning a child into a criminal,” said Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “A sixth grader is a child, not an adult. The police have no business enforcing rules of an elementary school, and schools have no business involving law enforcement in disciplinary matters.”

In this case, the child was ordered to the principal's office at Walnut Hill four days after he was assaulted, where he was greeted by the police who led him, in handcuffs, to his grandmother's car. “The only possible justification for the handcuffs was to humiliate or frighten the child, which is an abuse of law enforcement authority,” continued Esman.

In its public records requests to Walnut Hill and the Caddo Parish School Board, the ACLU seeks information about other incidents of handcuffing within the past two years, as well as copies of agreements with the Shreveport Police Department. “We want to know how often children are handcuffed at school,” said Esman.

On December 22, 2010 the ACLU requested documents from the Shreveport Police Department seeking its records of similar agreements and practices. Those documents have not yet been received.

Copies of the public records requests can be found here:

To Walnut Hill School.

To Caddo Parish School Board.

To Shreveport Police Department.

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