Video Shows School Resource Officer Handcuffing Third-Grader With ADHD

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August 4, 2015 9:50 a.m.
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A school resource officer in Kentucky placed handcuffs on a third-grade boy with disabilities as he cried, according to a video released on Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU released the video along with a lawsuit filed against the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office in Covington, Ky., due to numerous incidents. The ACLU alleges that Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner, a school resource officer, shackled an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old with their hands behind their backs. Both students have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the ACLU.

The video released on Monday shows the officer placing the 8-year-old boy in handcuffs as the boy is crying. The officer told the child, “You don’t get to swing at me like that. You can do what we’ve asked you to, or you can suffer the consequences.”

“Ow. That hurts,” the boy can be heard saying as the officer finishes placing him in restraints.

“Shackling children is not okay. It is traumatizing, and in this case it is also illegal,” said Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement. “Using law enforcement to discipline students with disabilities only serves to traumatize children. It makes behavioral issues worse and interferes with the school’s role in developing appropriate educational and behavioral plans for them.”

The ACLU, along with the Children’s Law Center, and Dinsmore & Shohl, argue in the lawsuit that the officer violated the Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Kim Tandy, executive director of the Children’s Law Center, said in a statement that school employees and resource officers in Kentucky are prohibited “from using restraints, especially mechanical restraints, to punish children or as a way to force behavior compliance.”

Watch the video released by the ACLU:

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