Jmyha Rickman‘s journey to her town’s city jail began at Love Joy Elementary School late Tuesday in Alton, Ill. At some point, school officials called the Alton Police Department to help handle the situation. It is not clear if the cops immediately took the child into custody or if they tried to calm her down.
Rickman reportedly has a history of throwing tantrums at the school.
Eventually, she was handcuffed, placed in the backseat of a police car and driven to jail, where she was held for two hours. The little girl said she was not allowed to put on her coat before being taken into custody. Neheniah Keeton, Rickman’s guardian, says the cops manhandled her.
“Her eyes were swollen from her crying and her wrists had welts on them,” Rickman said. “They cuffed her feet too and she asked to use the restroom several times and was ignored.”
Alton police are disputing some of the family’s claims, saying that the child was put in a juvenile detention room with supervision. They added that the school called them because Rickman was reportedly out of control and had torn up two classrooms. The arresting cop believes he took appropriate action.
Kristie Baumgartner, assistant superintendent of the Alton School District, told The Daily Mail that “she could not comment on specifics of the incident, citing Illinois privacy laws regarding children. However, she outlined school district policy, which says that if a student is at risk of harming themselves or others, police would be called if the child’s parent or guardian refuses to pick them up.”
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But Keeton feels the officer’s actions were excessive. “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,” he said.
Do you agree? Is it every appropriate for a child to be handcuffed if they risk being a danger to themselves or others?