Texas district apologizes after officer handcuffs boy with ADHD

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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Belton Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon is apologizing to an 8-year-old student and his family after a police officer handcuffed the out-of-control second grader in an unsuccessful attempt to restrain him.

"While we are continuing to investigate this incident, I want to apologize to the student and the student’s family. It is not our practice to call the police for unruly elementary students,” Kincannon said in a brief statement.

The boy’s parents provided affiliate KWTX with medical documents Wednesday that show he has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They also provided the disciplinary notice from the school that says their son was reprimanded for making fun of students and directed to move to what the notice describes as the d-hall table, but refused.

After the boy started to shove trays and throw chairs, he was taken to the school’s office, directed to sit down and calm down, but refused and instead “screamed, hit, kicked and throw (sic) items such as books and chairs.”

The notice says a parent was contacted to assist in calming down the student, who “was defiant and did the complete oppose of any direction offer (sic) by administrators,” the notice said.

The school resource officer was contacted as the boy’s behavior continued to escalate, the notice said.

The officer was sent just before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to the Belton ISD’s Pirtle Elementary School in response to the report that “teachers were having a very difficult time controlling a second grade student who was later determined to be experiencing an emotional crisis,” officer Shawana Neely said in a press release Tuesday night.

School staff members told the officer that the boy, who is 4 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 54 pounds, had thrown chairs in the cafeteria, chairs in the office and had struck staff members, Neely said.

“The officer noticed that the teachers were visibly shaken and overwhelmed with the ongoing emotional crisis of the student and unsure of what steps needed to be taken,” Neely said.

The officer’s attempts to calm the youngster by talking to him were unsuccessful, Neely said, so the officer told the boy to sit in a chair.

“The student continued to respond in a manner that placed himself and others at risk of possible injury. In an effort to prevent the student from injuring himself or others he was placed in restraints,” she said.

Because of their size, however, the “restraints proved to be ineffective,” she said, so the officer “maintained control of the student until a parent arrived.”

“While it is not our standard practice to place a student in restraints, the officer felt it necessary in order to prevent the possibility of injury to the student and staff,” she said.

The Belton ISD said that it’s not the district’s policy to call police to deal with an unruly elementary student.

District guidelines say that school resource officers “are first and foremost law enforcement officers and should be called upon when there is reason to believe that a crime may have occurred.

The department is reviewing the situation and consulting with the Belton ISD on the best way to handle a student experiencing a similar emotional crisis, Neely said.

Read the original version of this article at kwtx.com.