DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – According to districts officials, the 4th grader was acting unruly and not following the teacher’s commands. That’s when a security resource officer stepped in and put the child in handcuffs.
Now, some parents and a community group say they want to see the district change its policy.
“If a student becomes completely unruly and is a threat to themselves or a threat to another student,” Dayton Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Markay Winston said. “There are occasions where handcuffs may be used.”
That’s what happened at Valerie Elementary in October 2016. According to district officials, a 4th grader was behaving erratically and not following the teacher’s commands.
The district says the child had not taken his medication for behavioral issues. A security resource officer was called to de-escalate the situation. When a hugging tactic failed, the district says that’s when the restraints were used.
“I’ve seen it used,” Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Rhonda Corr said. “In other districts as well.”
The district talked about what happened for the first time Tuesday, for about ten minutes. Racial Justice Now organizer, Ty Alston, has been pressing the district for answers.
“We’ve presented this issue dating back to February,” Alston said. “And the best they can come up with was a short 5 to 10 minute discussion. That’s not acceptable.”
The child no longer attends Dayton Public Schools and has been placed back into the foster care system, according to the district. Alston believes officers should only restrain students in life or death situations.
“Rather than restraining the child in any type of way, why not guide them to another room,” Alston said. “Or if you do clear out the classroom, have a professional who is there that specializes in behavioral problems with children.”
The district has no set policy regarding handcuffing students. Rather, a crisis prevention company trains the district’s security resource officers how to handle situations like what happened at Valerie Elementary.
“It was a very unfortunate situation,” Corr said. “That is not something that you want to do. As a matter of regular practice. It’s not something that you see very often.”
The child’s foster family has had no contact with Racial Justice Now or the district. A fellow student’s parent told the organization what had happened.