Kids these days are living in constant danger. I’m not being melodramatic here or speaking figuratively. I mean it: the vast majority of children in America are in constant danger.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Of course they are! Think about all of the gang activity going on and the peer pressure that kids live under every day!” and I agree that these are big concerns. But the threat of violence that I am referring to has nothing to do with gangs or peer pressure or peer violence.
I’m referring to police and administration violence on school campuses.
Think I’m crazy? Take the example of ten-year-old John Haygood. John has autism. People with autism, if you’re not familiar with it, often do not know how to act in a “socially appropriate” manner. Certainly that seems to be the situation with John who felt endangered by a paraprofessional and kicked the school employee. John, though, doesn’t have issues with other school employees, just this specific paraprofessional which should make someone ask, what is the issue with this particular employee. Still, he was suspended from school for six months due to this unacceptable response.
For any reasonable person, the suspension would be enough. But what happened is that, on his first day back to school after that six month suspension, two Okeechobee County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies showed up at his school, handcuffed the boy, and put him in jail overnight. Matt Agorist gives us even more disturbing information to give you context:
[John’s mother, Louanne] Haygood says both police and the school district need to be better equipped to handle children with special needs — an understatement at best.
Six months would go by before police took any action on the warrant, opting to grab him at his school. When John and his mother showed up for testing, cops were there waiting as if it were some sort of sting operation.
Haygood began recording the incident after police refused to give her a reason or show her a warrant for her son’s arrest. The resultant video is heartbreaking.
“Don’t touch me, please. I don’t like to be touched,” little John says as he pleads with officers as they put the 10-year-old boy in handcuffs.
The two deputies then proceed to bring the boy to the patrol car in a heartbreaking walk.
“When he was saying, ‘I don’t understand mama, I don’t understand. What’s going on’? That broke my heart,” said Haygood.
The 10-year-old child with autism was handcuffed, put in a police car and taken from his school. He was then thrown in jail where he would spend the night before appearing in front of a judge the next day and finally released back to his mother.
Think about that: the police had six-months to seek action against the boy, but they waited until he had served his six-month suspension from school before seeking to punish him even more. And, if you know anyone with autism, you know that this boy didn’t understand why he was being arrested or what was going on. It’s unfair to that child and unfair to his family. And it’s completely wrong.
This is just one incident. There have also been reports of police officers body slamming a twelve-year-old girl and of other police officers beating a student for no reason at all.
Now, I’m not one who thinks that most police officers are bad guys, but, the fact of the matter is that, when incidents like this happen more and more often, we have too many bad police officers. And the police are involved in too many areas in which they don’t have any business being involved (like children’s behavior).
If your kids are in public schools, they are in real danger. Will one of these horrible incidents happen to them? I certainly hope not, but, if you put them in a public school, then just know that you are putting them in harms way.
What do you think about police being involved in “correcting” children’s behavior? Tell us below.