Police in Georgia are under fire today for overreacting to a tantrum by six-year-old kindergartner Salecia Johnson.

School officials allege the young girl threw items across the room and knocked over a bookshelf which struck the principal in the leg during a tantrum. When they couldn’t get her to calm down, administrators at Creekside Elementary School enlisted the help of the local police.

When officers arrived, they observed the girl screaming and crying on the floor of the principal’s office.

CNN Reports:

The officer stated in the report that he noticed damage to school property and tried numerous times to calm the girl, who eventually “pulled away and began actively resisting and fighting with me.”

“The child was then placed in handcuffs for her safety and the officer proceeded to bring her down to the police station,” said Chief Dray Swicord.

Although the officer insists putting the little girl in handcuffs was for her own safety and wasn’t a form of punishment, her parents think otherwise.

“Call the police? Is that the first step?” Constance Ruff, Johnson’s mother wondered.

“They don’t have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child,” said Salecia’s father, Earnest Johnson.

Johnson’s mother also questioned whether or not the school could have employed other methods of intervention before turning to the law.

Little Salecia was initially charged as a juvenile with simple battery of a schoolteacher and criminal damage to property, but the charges were dropped, and police insist she was never placed in a holding cell.

While I understand the school’s need to calm Salecia down, turning to police officers seems like an overreaction. This incident is also just another example in a long list of the ways in which minority children are often criminalized in school.

From being detained for truancy and being late to class, to being suspended at higher rates and being handcuffed when they are deemed unruly, black children often find themselves being treated more like adults than their peers which perpetuates the myth that black folks are more violent and thus more suspect than everyone else.

What do you think of the police’s decision to handcuff a kindergartner? 

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  • Chris K

    Those of you that bring the little girl’s colour into this is….. pathetic, sad and racist.

    I see a 6 year old little girl, who has behavioural issues. We can all sit here behind the safety of our computers and accuse the parents, teachers and police of wrong doing but you’re all missing the point. Instead of everyone involved pointing the finger all parties involved looking into why the child is acting up this way.

    Something is making her unhappy. Fix that and the problem goes away

    • Dreaming

      “Those of you that bring the little girl’s colour into this is….. pathetic, sad and racist.” – Maybe you missed the title of the article.

    • Chris K

      I didn’t miss the title. I include the author in that statement ;)

  • modern lady

    I keep telling people, if you can home school your kids-do it. No one can teach or discipline your child like you can.

    • sogone

      yes, girl, yes

  • Kely

    Granted, the title definitely causes a certain feeling of smh and omg but clearly this child needed it. I’m all for disciplining a child which is a direct link to the balanced discipline that my parents readily made available during my childhood. If parents don’t teach their children, there are plenty of other people willing to do it. I admit that it does seem harsh to handcuff a 6 year old, however it is obvious that she figured she was old enough to do whatever she felt like doing. As a 25 y/o African-American woman who works with children, I’m not seeing anything that should cause the police to apologize. Use the race card if you want to but with or without race involved, the child needed to be restrained.

  • KnowYourHistory

    Please review this video! SMH http://bcove.me/oeglzp9v

    Her parents are a piece of work, to say the least. No mention of getting this child help, NONE!

    P.S. What does prayer in the schools have to do with the price of tea in China …

  • Jerry

    Schools should still have the right to apply corporal discipline. We have taken away, when used correctly, a tool that would teach children like this one some respect. No child has the right to BE a severe learning disability to all other children in the classroom. We have tied the educator’s hands so tightly that police involvement is the only other option. If this child is breaking the law then she needs handcuffed and arrested. Does she think that she is above the law AND common decency? It would be far kinder for her to find out now that she is not exempt from the law than learn after a judge has sentenced her to jail, which will happen in the future if this lesson is not learned NOW. Parents ignoring behavior such as this are only hastening a more severe conflict in the court system!