Police were called last week to a primary school in Philadelphia, New York, following reports by staff that a pupil, Connor Ruiz, was being disruptive and uncontrollable.
When the New York State Police officers arrived at the premises, they placed the five year old boy in handcuffs and then carried him out to a patrol car and put his feet into shackles before taking him to a medical center for evaluation.
A spokesman said that the police handcuffed the boy for ‘his safety’ and safety of staff.
The boys family say that the school’s failure to follow an established action plan has left their son traumatized and unable to return to school.
The child’s mother, Chelsea Ruiz, told the local Watertown Daily Times she was shocked and angered by what had happened.
“An officer told me they had to handcuff his wrists and ankles for their safety,” she said. “I told him that was ridiculous. How could someone fear for their safety when it comes to a small, five-year-old child?”
According to the Huffington Post: Ruiz said teachers in her son’s special needs classroom tried for two hours to de-escalate the situation. But eventually, instead of calling Ruiz or her husband, Ryan, the school called the state police. Ruiz said the school didn’t reach out to her until after that.
“They’re incompetent, is how I feel,” Ruiz said of her son’s teachers and school officials. “I didn’t find out that they let my son spiral out of control for two hours until I read the [news] report.”
Because Connor has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, his family had established a plan for how to deal with him should he act out in an extreme way, said Ruiz. Connor’s family had made the school aware of their plan before Wednesday’s incident, Ruiz said.
“Nowhere did [our plan] state to call the police or have him evaluated,” Ruiz said. “If the teachers can’t calm him down, they should call me or my husband, because we can. But they didn’t. We were the last call.”
This is not the first time we have heard reports of children being restrained this way…back in December 2014 officials at a Virginia school turned an allegedly misbehaving 4-year-old preschooler over to law enforcement, who also put the child in handcuffs and shackles