School officials in Virginia who turned an allegedly misbehaving 4-year-old preschooler over to law enforcement, which handcuffed and shackled him and ordered him to talk to jail inmates, have agreed to rescind the boy's suspension and clean his record, according to the Rutherford Institute.
The unidentified student, who was enrolled in the pre-kindergarten program at Nathanael Greene Primary School, in Stanardsville, Virginia, was removed from the classroom Oct. 16 after allegedly "becoming agitated and throwing several items onto the floor."
The case came to light in December when the institute wrote the school protesting the student's treatment.
On Wednesday, the institute said the Greene County School District had agreed "to rescind the suspension of a 4-year-old preschool student" and "remove the documentation of the disciplinary action from the child's records."
"Moreover, school officials have indicated they would undertake a review of the division's restraint policy and practices, all the while asserting that they never approved of or directed the use of such restraints as a method of managing student behavior problems. Nevertheless, the administration is defending the decision by school officials to have the school resource officer intervene in the incident involving the 4-year-old," the institute reported.
"Rutherford Institute attorneys will continue to advise the 4-year-old's mother regarding her legal options regarding the use of force by the sheriff’s deputy."
When contacted by WND, school officials declined to respond to a request for a statement.
"This is not an isolated incident. Every week, The Rutherford Institute is asked to intervene in yet another case in which a child is suspended, handcuffed, arrested and subjected to all manner of injustices for daring to act like children: asking questions, using their imaginations, refusing to be politically correct, and telling the truth," said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.
"With many of America's schools now looking more like prisons than learning facilities, with metal detectors at the entrances, drug-sniffing dogs in the hallways and surveillance cameras in the classrooms and elsewhere, it's no wonder our young people are being treated like criminals and are growing up believing that they have no rights," he added.
Whitehead's earlier pointed out: "That such extreme restraints would even be contemplated in a case such as this points to a failure by those in leadership to provide the proper guidance to school personnel in what forms of restraint and force are appropriate when dealing with students, especially the youngest and most vulnerable."
Whitehead said: "It is imperative that Green County Public Schools take steps to assure [the student's mother] and the rest of the community of parents and concerned citizens that what happened to [the student] will not happen again to him or other students of similar age."
When the conflict with the student arose Oct. 16, his mother was called, and she informed the school she was on her way to the school.
However, school personnel then called a Greene County deputy sheriff to confront the preschooler, which agitated the student further.
"The officer escalated the situation by treating the 4-year-old as if he were being arrested: handcuffing [the student] and transporting him in a police car to a Greene County sheriff's office," the letter said.
There, the officer "forced [the 4-year-old] to speak with persons who had been arrested in an apparent attempt to 'scare straight' the preschooler," the letter said.
"No child, particularly children of tender years who are as emotionally fragile as [the student] should have to endure the shock and fright that accompanies handcuffing and shackling," the letter said. "These extreme forms of restraint are meant to be used only in those instances where law enforcement officers would be endangered by their proximity to unencumbered persons who pose a risk of violence."
WND also reported in recent weeks when officials at a Stone Mountain, Georgia, school handcuffed a 6-year-old special needs student.
According to WXIA-TV in Atlanta, the mother, Lakaisha Reid, said she and her husband arrived at the campus after getting a call from officials.
"We go into the school, a gentleman takes us back, I hear my son yelling. He's screaming," she said.
She said there were bruises on her son's wrists from the metal handcuffs, and she was angry.
"He just ran away from school," she said of son Patrick. "It does not require handcuffs for this."
The report said an official at Pine Ridge Elementary explained the boy was handcuffed for his own protection, because he "was acting in a disruptive manner and being self-destructive."