Family of 7-year-old student handcuffed for crying sues school with help of ACLU
Two years ago, Kaylb Wiley Primm was crying in his second grade classroom when a police officer stationed at the Kansas City public school walked by, heard the commotion and handcuffed the 7-year-old when his crying continued in the hallway, according to the Huffington Post.
Now, Missouri's American Civil Liberties Union is helping Kaylb's family sue the school district on the grounds of a state policy that says the "use of restraints for elementary and secondary students should be used only in extreme circumstances or emergencies," the ACLU's press release stated.
Kaylb, who the ACLU reported stood less than 4 feet tall and weighed less than 50 pounds at the time, was allegedly handcuffed for over 15 minutes. Kaylb had been crying because he was being bullied.
"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," his mother, Tomesha Primm, told Huffington Post.
"He knew he didn't do anything wrong," she said. "He didn't know if the man was going to take him to jail."
Kaylb's story isn't unusual: In 2013, after throwing a tantrum in her class, 8-year-old Jmhya Rickman allegedly had her hands and feet handcuffed by police before being held in custody for two hours. And last year, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was handcuffed when he was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school — the police had thought it was a bomb.
These incidents can have lasting effects on students like Kaylb, whose mother said he began having nightmares and wetting the bed, according to Huffington Post. She eventually took him out of school for safety concerns.
"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," said Primm in the ACLU's release.
The ACLU representation said they'd make sure of it.
"What happened to this child is simply wrong," ACLU of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman said. "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."