Kansas City, MO — The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a 7-year-old boy who was a victim of unnecessary and cruel punishment at the hands of a school cop. Kaylb Wiley Primm, who is now 9, was yanked out of class, forced into handcuffs and shoved down the hall — for crying.
Children cry, it is what they do and Kaylb is no different. After he’d been bullied, Kaylb started crying just as the officer was walking by the classroom. Instead of allowing the teacher to simply calm Kaylb down, this hero public servant yanked the child out into the hallway. He then handcuffed him and dragged him to the principal’s office where he’d sit for 15 minutes in handcuffs waiting on his mother.
According to the police officer’s account, which sounds like any number of justifications for police violence, the child had been “out of control in his classroom and refused to follow my directions.”
Apparently unable to calm down a 3′ 10″ 45 lb child, this officer violated Kaylb’s right to be free from unreasonable seizures and excessive force, according to the lawsuit.
“Our children need trained and concerned figures in schools that know how to intervene. It’s not okay to abuse your authority and handcuff kids as a means of discipline,” said Tomesha Primm, Kalyb’s mother. “As a parent, I want to make sure no other child – in Kansas City or anywhere else in the country – experiences what my son did.”
When she got to school, Primm was horrified, as any parent would be, when she saw her little boy in handcuffs after being assaulted by a police officer.
“I couldn’t believe it because I couldn’t imagine they were allowed to do anything like that, or I would never have put him in there,” said Primm. “He knew he didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t know if the man was going to take him to jail.”
“This child committed no crime, threatened no one, and posed no danger to anyone,” said ACLU of Missouri Legal Director Tony Rothert. “Gratuitously handcuffing children is cowardly and violates the constitution.”
After this incident, Kalyb was too scared to return to school, so Primm made the wise decision to pull him from the school as she was concerned for his safety. She homeschooled her son for the next two years.
According to the ACLU, this incident also violated state policy, which says that the use of restraints for elementary and secondary students should be used only in extreme circumstances or emergencies.
However, the police were quick to defend the actions of their officer and released a statement noting how the Kansas City Police Department can apparently assault children as part of their job.
“Contrary to reports that KCPS security officers violated certain [Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] regulations, all KCPS officers are commissioned by the Kansas City Police Department in accordance with state law. This important distinction alters the parameters of their capacity to act in certain situations. Notwithstanding the expanded scope of their authority, the school system’s present administration is taking numerous steps to ensure that our security officers are focused on de-escalation, conflict resolution, trauma intervention and relationship building.”
“What happened to this child is simply wrong,” said ACLU of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman. “This is a call to action for all of us to stop the unnecessary punishment that happens to young boys of color all across our nation – and particularly in Missouri.”
The lawsuit, filed last week in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, seeks to get better training for school police officers and asks for compensatory damages.
Handcuffs for 7-year-old child for crying shows that the mere act of being a child is now criminalized.
As the Free Thought Project previously reported, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Education and published by NBC News, in the 2011-2012 school year, teachers called the cops on students a total of 31,961 times in the state of California alone, leading to 6,341 arrests.
With 175 school days lasting eight hours each, that means that every 2.6 seconds a cop is called!
At one California school district, in particular, East Side Union High School District in San Jose, police were called on students 1,745 times during the 2011-2012 school year. This one school called the police on students more than ten times a day!
In May, we reported on the video showing a San Antonio Independent School District police officer body slam a 12-year-old girl. In February, the Free Thought Project brought you the story of the Baltimore School cop who was seen beating a student who had done nothing wrong.
In fact, recent videos have revealed a myriad of school cops attacking unarmed students. In December, Officer Rigo Valles was cleared of any wrongdoing after grabbing a student by the neck and slamming him to the floor. In October, Richland County Deputy Ben Fields was fired after students recorded him flipping over a girl’s desk and dragging her across the floor. Oklahoma City Master Sgt. Thomas Jaha was charged with assault and battery in October as well, after repeatedly punching a student in the face for not having a hall pass.
In November, prosecutors agreed to dismiss assault charges against Louisville Metro Police Officer Jonathan Hardin for punching a student in the face if the former officer completes anger management classes. Hardin still faces wanton endangerment, official misconduct, and assault charges for choking another student unconscious in a separate incident five days later. In separate incidents earlier this year, school cops have also been caught attacking an autistic boy, body-slamming a child, and raping nearly two dozen students.
And these are the ones the public knows about. How many more incidents, just like this one, go unreported and unpunished?
Instead of attempting to solve a problem with logic and reason, schools are now taking the easy road and turning to the barrel of a gun to force compliance. This is not only dangerous and lazy, but entirely unnecessary.
A study of more than 185,000 private and public school users from 2010 to 2014 revealed that violence is largely a problem in the public school sector. Private schools, unlike public schools, have an incentive to create a safe and caring environment for their students, so they take a far more proactive approach to prevent bullying — and it works.
Without using police force, private schools are able to reduce bullying and violence to levels far below that of public schools. Imagine that.
What this data illustrates is the societal dependence on the state to solve matters that should be handled without government. Being dependent upon the state to solve one’s problems is a de facto dependency upon violence.
“The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence.” -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
If you truly want a glimpse into the horrid effects of the police state on all school children, take a scroll through our archives, at this link.
Until people wake up to the reality of relying on a system of violence to maintain “order,” we can expect this problem to get worse.