Florida 7-year-old handcuffed, taken to mental health facility
A Florida mom is furious because a school resource officer handcuffed her seven-year-old.
The child with special needs had a meltdown in class and was sent to a mental health facility.
This case in Clearwater is just one of several similar incidents that is drawing the attention of Florida lawmakers
Tyeisha Harmon wasn’t exactly surprised when Belcher Elementary called her to let her know her son was having a meltdown.
Her seven-year-old has severe anxiety and a mental disorder.
But she was surprised by these marks on his wrist.
“He’s like ‘mommy, I was handcuffed and look what they did to my wrist,’” said Harmon.
ABC Action News is not naming the child because of his age, but Harmon does want us to show his face.
She thinks it’s important in telling his story.
“Not only did you handcuff him but you did it so tightly that it left marks on his hands, and he’s 7,” said Harmon. "What’s he going to do?”
Harmon says in the 20 minutes it took her to get to his school, he’d been arrested and taken to a mental health institution.
“It’s very serious because nobody’s kids should have to go through that,” said Harmon.
She believes a classroom change outside of his routine is what caused her son to act out.
She questions why a school resource officer would handcuff a student so young in the first place.
In Orlando, a six-year-old was zip-tied for acting out in class, and now Florida Sen. Randolph Bracy’s new bill would prohibit children under the age of 10 from being arrested or charged with a crime for childhood misbehavior.
One mom thinks its a good idea.
But for now, she wants more training.
“They are there to help these kids but for me you are just doing damage,” said Harmon.
Pinellas County Schools issued a statement after the incident.
They say the school resource officer acted appropriately because the child was a danger to himself and others.
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