Greene County, VA — A four-year-old little boy was handcuffed and then shackled by the local sheriff and taken away in a squad car, after the principal at Nathanael Greene Primary School failed to calm him down.
Back in October the boy allegedly threw blocks, climbed over desks, hit, scratched, and kicked the principal and the director of special education. Unable to gain control of a 4-year-old, the school made the ridiculous decision to call a sheriff’s deputy who is assigned to the schools.
“The boy was out of control, basically, throwing his arms around and kicking– trying to kick the deputy, trying to run away, and the deputy felt that putting the handcuffs on him was for his safety as well as everybody else’s,” County Sheriff Steven Smith said.
Tracy Wood, the boy’s mother, says the school called her to pick up her son, but when she got there, police had already taken him to the station.
“When you call a parent to get their child, when they get to the school, you expect the child to be there– especially when you arrive in a timely manner,” Wood told WVTF.
“Once he got inside the office, since he tried to run and kick the deputies, they took the handcuffs off him and put the leg shackles on him,” Smith stated to WVTF.
“My son is a very loving, caring, protective little boy,” Wood said. “He deserves to go to school and feel safe and know that he’ll come back home to his mommy. He won’t be carted off like a criminal.”
Wood says that police provoked her son with a show of force.
Charlottesville psychologist Jeffrey Fracher told WVTF that the use of shackles and handcuffs on a four-year-old could have long-term consequences.
“I can’t imagine any scenario where it would be appropriate to handcuff a child that young. What we know about childhood development and psychological development suggests that could be also be highly traumatizing to a child.”
Listen to the report on public radio:
The fact that police were called to deal with an out of control four year old speaks to a much larger systemic problem. This problem has to do with society’s dependence upon state sanctioned force to solve problems.
Why weren’t the parents allowed to stop the fit first? Could the boy not be isolated in a room until his fit was over? This is not some out of control teenager, he was four.
Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. In August, the Maldonaldo family asked the Free Thought Project to report on the story of their 10-year-old son who was handcuffed and placed on the back of a hot police cruiser.
Again, instead of letting the parents show up and help their child, police were called, as if their monopoly on the initiation of force is the magical solution to everything.