CHICAGO – A Chicago mother is threatening to sue her daughter’s school after she found the child handcuffed in a dark stairwell for allegedly stealing a piece of candy from her teacher’s desk.
The 6-year-old told NBC Chicago she was effectively arrested and detained for about an hour after she took a piece of candy from her teacher’s desk. Moore’s mother, Marlena Wordlaw, said she was called to the school over the candy incident and found her daughter crying in the dark under the stairs.
She then confronted the school resource officer about her daughter’s treatment.
“I said, ‘why you have my baby in cuffs?’” Wordlaw said. “He said, ‘because I’m trying to teach them to stop taking stuff that doesn’t belong to them.’”
“When he pulled her from under the stairs she was crying,” she added. “He told me, ‘I’m doing my job, I’m trying to teach her a lesson.’”
The mother said she thinks school officials overreacted to her daughter’s relatively minor misbehavior.
“I understand these teenage boys and whatever the case may be, yeah you can try to teach them a lesson, but this is a little girl,” she said.
Madame Noire columnist Veronica Wells weighed in on the situation in a Monday editorial.
“It’s amazing how school resource officers are used these days and the attitudes with which they enter the classroom. For the life of me, I can’t understand why a teacher would need an officer to handle a child who stole candy from a desk,” Wells wrote.
“Certainly, the little girl wasn’t right to take candy that didn’t belong to her. But as a teacher, you should be fully capable of not only disciplining a six-year-old, in your classroom, without outside help, especially for something as small and trivial as taking candy. Loss of recess and a stern lecture would have done the trick. These are consequences a six-year-old can process and understand. These are consequences that would have been benefiting of her action.”
Wordlaw undoubtedly agrees. She told NBC Chicago the principal apologized for the incident, but an apology is not enough.
“He kept trying to apologize, but it’s like you can’t apologize to me for that, period,” Wordlaw said. “I don’t accept your apology, ever.”
Wordlaw said she plans to sue her daughter’s school to teach officials a lesson.
The incident prompted vastly different responses from readers at NBC Chicago and Madame Noire.
“Stop complaining when you don’t teach your kids a lesson, and the school (or in a few years the police) does. Stop this political correctness madness NOW,” Rafael Facioni posted to NBC Chicago.
“True the child does need to be taught a lesson, but under the dark stairway is a bit much. HOWEVER, I can trust that little girl will never steal again,” Motique Mocha Holston posted. “Filing a law suit a bit too much.”
Several of the responses at Madame Noire were much more race focused, though 99 percent of the student body and most of the staff at the school is black.
“They hate us. Like these people literally expect the worst in black people even little kids!” commenter Yoda posted.
“I am sorry, if that was a white child, this even would NOT even have happened,” Faith wrote.
“This is just another example of making poor minority students and their parents feel like black lives don’t matter,” commenter What? wrote. “Not only should the parent sue, but the Civil Rights Commission and Child Protective Services need to be investigating the staff at the school.”
Others believe some personal responsibility is in order.
“Bet she learned a lesson and will think twice before stealing again. Unless of course her mother and others won’t hold her accountable and deflect which is what usually happens in our community,” Get moving posted to Madame Noire.
“That baby knew stealing was wrong,” commenter Ashley Thats me added.