Civil Rights Group Intervenes For Handcuffed 4-Year-Old

Dec 19, 2014

Some parents expressed outrage when they heard that a child at their local elementary school had been handcuffed and hauled off to the sheriff’s office after kicking and hitting the principal.  Now, a national civil liberties group is getting involved on behalf of the boy, who’s been diagnosed with ADHD. 

John Whitehead says he's never heard of handcuffing a child so young.
Credit The Rutherford Institute

Officials in Greene County don't deny that a sheriff's deputy, serving as a resource officer to Nathanael Greene Primary School, handcuffed an unruly 4-year-old, placed him in a cruiser, and later put the pre-kindergarten kid in leg irons.

"I think it's a very egregious situation."

 That's John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, a non-profit civil liberties group based in Charlottesville.  He fired off a letter to the school superintendent calling the actions "excessive, unwarranted, and unnecessarily traumatizing."

 "I don't even think the policeman should have been called in this situation. The school personnel, if they're not trained to handle this, they should be trained to handle this. Obviously, they're not."

Whitehead wants the school district to re-enroll the child, who was expelled.  If there’s no response by year’s end, the Rutherford Institute may file suit.  

After WVTF and RADIO IQ reported the incident, several parents expressed concerns at a school board meeting, and Schools Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh says the district is reviewing its procedures for dealing with troublesome students.