A 13-year-old boy from Albuquerque, New Mexico was arrested and thrown in jail after burping in class at his local school.
Despite outrage from the media and parents at the school, the 10th circuit court of appeals ruled that the cop who arrested the boy and school staff were “immune” from any subsequent lawsuit against them on behalf of the child.
The law the court cited in their ruling prohibits anyone from interfering with the educational process.
The original incident happened in May of 2011 at Albuquerque’s Cleveland Middle School. After repeatedly burping in class, instead of simply disciplining the child, the school called the cops. The 13-year-old boy, who was in 7th grade at the time, was then searched, arrested, handcuffed, and brought to jail — for burping.
After being held in a juvenile detention center for over an hour, his mother was finally informed that her son had been arrested.
The boy’s mother filed a lawsuit rightfully arguing that her her son’s arrest was unlawful and resulted in excessive force. However, thanks to the insanity of the legal system, she has no recourse against the school officials or the cop who kidnapped her son for burping.
“At worst, [the boy] was being a class-clown and engaged in behavior that would have subjected generations of school boys to an after-school detention, writing lines, or a call to his parents,” a complaint filed by her attorneys said. However, instead of using these normal means of discipline, the school opted for the barrel of a gun.
The Guardian reports:
According to the school, the boy was in physical education class when his teacher said he began making other students laugh with fake burps. The teacher sent him to the hallway, where he continued burping and leaning into the entranceway to the classroom so the students could hear.
That’s when officer Arthur Acosta, assigned to the middle school as its resource officer, was called to the hallway where the boy was seated, according to court documents.
The boy disputed the version of events provided to the officer by his teacher, Margaret Mines-Hornbeck, before the officer led him away from the classroom, and took him first to the school’s administrative office and then the juvenile detention center.
After being arrested, the child was then suspended for the remainder of the school year.
The court also ruled on a separate complaint brought against the school for their decision to search the boy the following November, after the arrest.
According to court documents, the assistant principal suspected the child was involved in a marijuana deal and made the boy remove his shoes and jeans, and flip the waistband of his shorts outward. The search was fruitless and revealed that the principal’s suspicions were false.
According to the Guardian, the mother argued the school official engaged in an unlawful strip search of the boy. But the court found the use of the term “strip search” was a stretch and did not violate the boy’s constitutional rights.
When a child is arrested for being the class clown and a court not only upholds the arrest but grants immunity to the ones who conducted it, something is seriously wrong.