SANFORD, N.C. – The North Carolina mother of a special needs 8-year-old is calling out school officials for handcuffing her child without notifying her, a traumatic experience that convinced her to move the boy to another school.
The mother, who asked not to be identified, told WTVD her son was involved in a classroom disturbance at William Warren Child Development School in November, when a school resource officer handcuffed the 8-year-old and hauled him to another room to calm down.
The woman said school officials never notified her about the incident, and when she confronted them about it they attempted to justify the overreaction.
“The only thing (the resource officer) could say was that he was a danger to himself or others,” the mother said, “but when you are eight at a special needs school based on behavior, you should not be able to handcuff a child.”
Lee County Schools superintendent Andy Bryan also attempted to justify the excessive restraints in a prepared statement for WTVD.
“ … At times, SROs, who are employed by our Sheriff’s Office, have to use different methods of intervention to keep students and staff safe,” he wrote. “I have an open door policy for any parent in our district who wants to discuss a concern about their child and would welcome the opportunity to have that conversation.”
The mother told the news site her son is doing better now that he attends a different school.
William Warren school employees weren’t the only ones to face criticism this week over how they restrain students.
A teacher in Bangor, Michigan resigned Tuesday for duct taping a student during class.
“We had some students approach us and advised that another student had been duct taped during class during the day,” Bangor Police Chief Tommy Simpson told Fox 17. “By the time we started conducting interviews, (school officials) already made personnel decisions, and the teacher involved in this had resigned.”
The incident involved the teacher applying duct tape to a 16-year-old student’s arms and chest as a classmate recorded the prank on video, Simpson said.
“The student who was duct taped said that he was embarrassed by it,” he said. “It was an uncomfortable moment for him.”
Simpson said investigators are now working to determine if malice was involved or criminal charges may be warranted.
He also encouraged students and parents to flag authorities when they believe classroom issues get out of hand.
“They need to contact the administrators,” Simpsons said. “They need to inform their parents and, if necessary, they’re more than welcome to contact this police department.”