First Grader Handcuffed After Easter Egg Tantrum

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The New York Police Department's school safety division has a long history of removing disruptive children from campus in handcuffs despite their young age.

Another child met this fate last week, and it turns out that not only is he 7 years old, but he has special needs.

Should this have happened?

Joseph Anderson, a first grader in Queens, is known to suffer from ADHD, delayed speech and emotional problems, reports the Associated Press.

In art class last week he became upset when his Easter egg project did not turn out as he wanted. Staff tried to calm him down, but he threatened them with scissors and began biting and spitting, according to the news service.

That's when the school's safety officers came and restrained Joseph Anderson.

The first grader, handcuffed, was then taken to a nearby hospital for psychiatric evaluation, despite the fact that his mother had been called and was on her way.

The New York City Schools Chancellor is now saying that sometimes it's necessary to restrain children, such as in the case of Joseph Anderson, when they pose a threat to themselves and others.

Sometimes children do need to be restrained, but breaking a school rule is not a criminal offense and should not be treated as such. This is especially true when a child is in the developmental phase where boundary-pushing is normal.

One also has to question whether schools should have the right to force psychiatric evaluations when behavior, though obnoxious, is typical for age and diagnosis.

In the end, it comes down to whether we, as a nation, really want a first grader handcuffed for throwing a tantrum.

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