Jmyha Rickman, a student at Lovejoy Elementary School in Alton, Illinois, threw a fit in a classroom yesterday morning, then hauled into jail.

8-year-old Jmyha Rickman may never throw another temper tantrum in school again, especially after what she had to experience this week. Jmyha, a student at Lovejoy Elementary School in Alton, Illinois, had a tantrum in class, but the teachers and staff couldn’t control her this time.  Instead of calling her guardian, Nehemiah Keeton, staff called the police. Keeton told KMOV-TV: “Her eyes were swollen from her crying and her wrists had welts on them and they cuffed her feet too”. He said the Jmyha threw a tantrum because she wasn’t  allowed to use the bathroom.

Kristie Baumgartner, assistant superintendent of the Alton School District, said district policy says if a student is a risk to themselves or someone else, police would be called if a parent or guardian refuses to pick them up. Alton police told KMOV that they were responding to a call about an out of control child who was tearing up two classrooms. Police also stated that the child was put in a supervised juvenile detention room at the police station. An officer says he thinks the appropriate actions were taken, according to KMOV.

Keeton doesn’t feel the situation was handled properly. ‘This is something that I don’t feel like any 7 or 8-year-old – I mean,  she didn’t have a weapon threatening to harm anybody.”


Do you think the treatment was justified?

  • Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    There are always more to these stories.

    We don’t know if this child has been labeled as having a disability (for instance, emotionally handicapped). If she was there are an amazing number of legal issues involved with restraining her, punishing her, suspending her, etc. Some students who have “tantrums” bite and claw and their own skin, self injure, or become intent on injuring others though biting, etc. Consider that parents aren’t required to report some health ailments that are communicable, like hepatitis. I would not take the risk of being bitten or restraining a bleeding child, especially if I might be violating district policy or specific stipulations in her record.

    For parents out there who have kids who have serious behavioral issues, one must understand that, yes, your child may get arrested if situations escalate.

  • Owlman5678


  • Tory

    What do you expect teachers to do: they can’t beat their little asses so they call the cops…. Start whooping these kids and save the tax payers money by haveing the police dispatched because some kid is out of control.

  • Sweetles

    This is a tough call. I don’t like to see our babies criminalized, but the staff members don’t have a lot of options. What are they supposed to do?

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    There’s always more to these stories. But HANDCUFFING CHILDREN (and from the number of similar reports I’ve seen/heard, these are non-white children) does not get an OK from me.

    I also wanted to know why that reporter chose to use these words “That little eight-year-old girl…all 70 pounds of her…” Just what the @#$% was THAT all about? His sensational description rubbed me all kinds of wicked. We also must pay very close attention to how our local, as well as national media portrays/speaks of our children.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    On another note, the reporter mentions that Jmyha had a history of throwing tantrums – Kinda wondering how they could get a hold of that kind of information but no school official/administrator wants to face the camera and give an account to this incident.

  • Val

    If you are an adult and you can’t grab an 8 year-old girl and hold on to her until she calms down then you just don’t want to and want to criminalize little Black kids. I’ve read about several incidents of little Black girls being handcuffed and taken to jail but I’ve never heard of it happening to a little White girl.

    So, am I to believe that in the whole United States no 8 year old White girls have tantrums? Of course they do the difference is that teachers handle them and call the police on Black girls.

  • Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    It’s even worse than not whopping them: if kids have specific stipulations in their documents, a teacher could get sued/fired/disciplined for trying to restrain them at all. In my state, teachers are strongly discouraged from touching students AT ALL, particularly if they don’t have state-mandated classes in restraining students.

  • Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    There’s a law that makes it illegal for administrators and teachers to publicly disclose any information concerning students (even their names).

  • Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    It’s true that Black children are over-represented in disciplinary actions and special education.

    Studies repeatedly show that Black and Latin children are displaced at significantly higher rates than Whites, which is tantamount to denying them an education. Assessments and even reports of predominantly White, middle-class, female teachers are very often biased. Punishments are more severe for minor infractions. It’s the issue that I’m most concerned about in the field and have advocated against the discrimination in my state.

    On the other hand, they may have not been allowed to even touch the child depending on what is in her records (and what we’re actually not allowed to know).

  • Jay Cee

    Val, so very true! It’s been happening to both Black girls and boys across the nation. It is a shame! I am a retired school teacher who worked in the Bronx. NEVER did we stoop to call the police on a student/child. We were all intelligent and caring enough to handle a distraught student without resorting to criminalizing them. But, that is to be expected from some white teachers who do not value the humanity of Black people period.

  • Trisha

    I don’t agree with the handcuffs. However, I do believe Jmyha may have needed some type of constraint. Since there is a history of tantrums, other means by now (how to control this situation) should have been established other than handcuffing her like a criminal by now. Either this incident had gotten severely out of control that other measures had to be taken or the school/police officers didn’t want to take the time to calm her down. Honestly, this is a sticky situation. So many factors to consider and it is hard to determine b/c clearly there are a lot of unanswered questions. Others students safety must be taken into consideration as well as for Jmyha own safety.

    The police officer couldn’t apply a taser on her or apply additional physical force with her. I really don’t like the handcuffs on her, but I’m sort of leaning towards just maybe [just maybe] this was the right choice depending on how severe the situation was and her background history.

    I wonder if she was on any type of medication and perhaps that wasn’t available at the time. She looks somewhat sedated within the video.

    And why was she held for two-hours is another concenr? Yeah, we are lacking a lot of information for this particular case.

    If it was a little boy, I pretty sure it would have been worse.

  • Trisha

    I just wanted to add that I’ve seen kids have tantrums. And I am so afraid that they will hit their heads and receive a concussion or worse. It’s scary and they do need protection.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    In that case then we shouldn’t have known that she’d thrown tantrums before .

  • mluv

    I agree its so tough. When working in the classroom, Ive seen children have their moments and thats when school security is supposed to be called to help “mediate”,and then disciplinary action is taken. However, children need know that certain behavior is not acceptable.

  • Melu

    This isn’t that hard to believe. I once had a 9yr old single handedly throw a tantrum where she destroyed an entire classrom. We had to evacuate the room with the other kids as she punched holes in the walls, threw chairs across the room, flung desks over. Adults couldn’t contain this kid from destroying the room! She was a danger to herself and others around her.

  • Guest1234

    I would agree with you, except for this one fact. I have never EVER heard of a SINGLE incident where a white child is chained on their hands and feet. Do you know what happens to white children with behavioral and emotional problems?! They get counseling. They get therapy. They get patience. They get GODDAMNED COMPASSION!!!!!

    This sounds to me like a little girl who is suffering from some kind of trauma. It can be mental or emotional. There are actually EXPERTS who know how to deal with these problems. And often times they work in schools. I can well understand not wanting to physically restrain a kid under such conditions as an educator. I cannot understand why we treat black kids with the problems like animals. Somehow, the white kids get calmed down. There ARE alternatives. Period. And we know because they are ALWAYS available to white kids. Don’t excuse this kind of stuff. What we need are professionals who are trained in handling precisely these kinds of issues in a safe and compassionate way. Anything less is just disgusting.

  • Guest1234

    They’re supposed to do the SAME DAMN THING THEY DO WHEN WHITE KIDS THROW TANTRUMS!!!!! And that NEVER EVER requires handcuffs and jail time!!! Stop accepting anything less for our kids.

  • mEE

    I know the gut reaction is to say, “but why? she’s just a child” but until you’re in that situation with an out of control, and I mean totally out of control person, you have no idea how you’ll react.

    this is my 5th year as a teacher and I work with children ages 8-10 diagnosed with an emotional disturbance. there’s not enough space in this comment box for me to tell you about the things I’ve seen a child do. the word tantrum makes it seem like some minor whining and maybe throwing yourself on the floor. no. I’ve seen a child break a teacher’s eye socket. I’ve seen a child shove a teacher down the stairs. I’ve seen a child spit in a teacher’s face. I have had a student pick up chairs and desks over his head and hurl them at me from across the room.

    we are no longer allowed to restrain students. we can use “protective interventions” but we cannot restrain. I’ve had colleagues get ARRESTED for breaking up fights because the parent thought the teacher was too rough when they pulled their kid off the other child they were assaulting.

    like I said, I totally understand the reaction of those who think it was excessive. as a Black woman who has ONLY minority students, I fully acknowledge that there are other underlying factors at play here. however, I would just caution anyone against minimizing this child’s actions, particularly if you don’t have a clear understanding of how serious a situation with a child, even one this young, can be.

  • mEE

    Jay, I’m currently teaching in the South Bronx. I’ve never called the police on a child but there are plenty of times I should have. however, due to their disability classification, our school has procedures that involve having the child EMSed to the hospital…which in a lot of ways is just as bad because they still have to be physically restrained to be transported.
    I don’t know what this little girl did but the fact that you used the word distraught rather than violent or out of control (words I would use) tells me we form two different pictures in our head when we hear the word tantrum.

    please don’t be so quick to write these teachers off as uncaring or insensitive or use phrases like “stoop to call the police”. if you’ve ever been in a situation with a child who is a direct threat to his/herself or others you would understand why sometimes just talking it out isn’t an option.

  • mEE

    …or you’re afraid that you’ll face disciplinary action, lose your job, or be subjected to a lawsuit. I don’t know the particular regulations in this district, but in my district we aren’t allowed to restrain children, and I work strictly with students with behavioral issues.

  • Anon

    First, these are usually blatant aggressions against children due to the first black presidency, superbowl, whatever. These teachers are usually ITCHING to act out on someone and a small black child can’t really “fight back”. This little girl is probably in a harassing environment while at school. We also don’t know what’s going on at home.

    Second, now that these incidents keep happening, why aren’t black parents STRESSING that they can’t do the same things that white kids can behavior-wise. Kalie is going to be treated differently than Kenya once it comes to discipline, so teach your children that EARLY and OFTEN.

    It ain’t fair, but it might be right.

  • Sweetles


    But you never really answered the question. I have worked with children with behavioral problems. I have seen kids throw “tantrums”, and they are a danger to themselves and everyone around them. It is difficult to speak on this particular situation because we don’t have all of the details, but in many cases, when a child is having a “tantrum” you are left with very few options. You cannot restrain them or hold them, and you are responsible for the safety of everyone including the child throwing the tantrum, and yourself. Mind you, tantrums are more than just crying and screaming on the floor. Classrooms are literally getting torn up, desks and chairs are flying, it is pure mayhem. It certainly isn’t ideal to have an eight year old escorted out in handcuffs, but again, there aren’t many options. You cannot lay a finger on these kids when this stuff is going down, and if they get hurt (even if they hurt themselves) you are the blame. So I ask again, What are they supposed to do?

  • Mama Mia

    Exactly. Many have not actually been put in a situation where a child is UNCONTROLLABLE. Many of these children are quite dangerous, and unfortunately many need outside interventions. I really don’t care if she was 8 years old or 18. An uncontrollable person is an uncontrollable person. I think many are just upset at the fact that she was a little black girl. That’s their real and only issue.

  • The Artist

    Torn. Although putting an eight year old in handcuffs seems over the top, situations like these maybe very difficult for teachers, especially when teachers are prohibited from restraining the child. After all, teachers reserve the right to protect themselves and the other students, if need be.

    I really think there should be another system in place for handling this type of behavior without involving the police. I’m going out on a limb here, but maybe some sort of behavior specialist ( I have no idea what they should be called) would work, someone who is capable of providing behavior-related assistance/advice to teachers when needed. Wishful thinking, I suppose…

  • LDN

    You proceed with calling the parents to remove them, not the cops.

  • Mellanese

    I tihnk this little girl is bad as HELL. She went to school showing out and AGAIN and teacher said that’s it call the police. The uncle even admitted that they have had to restrain her before…Now she is scared to go back to the school no her card has been pulled SEND HER BUTT right back to the same school she will flinch when she see’s security

  • Mellanese

    Perhaps if this child was 2 years old then she may not know better she is 8 that is old enough to know better. They stated that she is special needs. That can be just a learning disability but she had enough sense to show out. All these reports of people killing children I think this was a good move and a lesson was definitely learned here.

  • Mellanese

    The school stated that this was not the first time they have had to involve the law HOW do you know the other kids where not white? In this case the uncle called the news. Please accepting less for our kids WE should raise OUR kids to act better than this she is 8 and throwing a darn tantrum.

  • Treece

    I agree. And systems like this are already in place at alternative schools for children with behavior problems and emotional disturbances. Parents are given a permission slip basically giving the staff permission to restrain if the child is a danger to him/herself or others. From what has been said about this child, if I had to make a decision, one of those types of schools seems appropriate for her. But because she is in a public school (most of which have hands-off policies) then that’s all they really could do. If the teacher had restrained her then they would have complained about that. Tough situation.

  • NOitAll

    Hmmmph. I wonder if this were a little white girl would everyone commenting be so quick to throw her under the bus. It just goes to show a Black woman or girl’s greatest enemy is usually another Black woman.

  • Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I’ve worked with the EH and in juvenile detention or alternate facilities for kids who can’t be suspended from school due to their classification. What is being referred to as a “tantrum” may be extremely dangerous for themselves and others. I’ve worked with kids who bite themselves so hard they’re deformed their bones; I relieved a teacher who was so badly injured when a student literally beat her to a pulp and DRAGGED her through the classroom that she was hospitalized for weeks. There were 2 other paras in the room and they couldn’t get the kid off her.

    People do not understand what is happening in the classroom which gives people permission to condemn teachers.

  • Fantastico

    I wouldn’t go so far to condemn anyone in particular for the treatment of this child. It is a systematic problem where children of color are generally treated more harshly than others.

    Another system of restrain should be implemented in public schools for situations like this. One that does not waste police resources on petty school behavior problems and respects the dignity of children and parents.

  • Kam

    While I do agree that Black children are treated more harshly, having been a teacher I also know that they are restricted on what they can do in terms of a situation like this. From the article it says that they have teachers hold her down before. Although this might work, this is not a long term solution to the problem. Ultimately the teachers need to be able to attend to other students and give them their attention too. What about all the other Black children that are just trying to get an education. I think this little girl needs help and while I don’t agree with handcuffing children I think they did it because they were at the end of their rope.

  • gloria


    Sometimes the parents don’t respond. I’ve had parents tell me flat out that when they see the school’s number, they hit ignore. Plus, this child has a guardian. Where are her parents by the way?

  • Phillip Marsh

    What were these idiot teachers and administrators thinking? Calling the cops? At worst you bodily pick the child up and carry her to the office where she is locked in a room until she settles down. And what were the idiot police doing putting her in handcuffs? Absolutely ridiculous.

  • Jen

    I work for an agency that deals with out of control teens and children. Each staff person is trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention and restraint. Basically, I’m called to help the child work through their problems and, if things have gotten out of control, safely restrain the child until she calms down. Having a couple of trained adults in the school could have prevented this. She and the other children would have been safe until a parent could arrive and if necessary then she’d be suspended. No trauma involved.

  • Nicole Embery

    My son has mental issues and throws temper tantrums at home. if he were to throw one at school the way he does at home i would be fine if the schook what this one did. yes she is a young chikd however my 8 year old can turn into the hulk when he is angry. it takes all of my strength to restrain him. i have seen him throw furniture during a fit. black, white, green, or orange when a child is throwing a major fit they CAN be dangerous and ANYTHING can become a weapon.

  • Adry

    We have one like that at my school, is a 3rd grader. He yells, cries, curse, vomit and last time in my class (art) he wanted to throw a chair and he hit another teacher who came to my classroom to help. I just wanted to call the police but my administrator give him popcorn and talk to him to calm him down. All of this because I didn’t allow him to use another piece of paper
    I don’t buy his tantrum now every time he has a outburst get something …not fear

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