By NICK CHILES
My God, this is getting outrageous: Today’s news on the police/school front has police officers in Georgia handcuffing a kindergartner, carting her off to the police station and charging her with assault because the little girl had a tantrum. We have written here ad nauseaum about the insanity of police getting involved in garden variety school discipline issues, but up to this point we were talking about junior high and high school students. Never did it cross my mind that police would be called in to control a kindergartner!
It happened in Milledgeville, Georgia, last Friday, when 6-year-old Salacia Johnson lost control of herself, according to published reports, “crying, tearing items off the wall, biting a door knob, trying to break a glass frame and jumping on top of a paper shredder.” According to the Associated Press, at one point, she reportedly knocked over a shelf, injuring the school principal. (This is a side issue, but why do I know baby girl’s name? Why has her sweet little face been broadcast across the globe? What happened to protecting the identity of minors? We have declined to use her image on MyBrownBaby.)
This follows a case last week where a police officer used pepper spray to clear the halls at an Arkansas junior high, sending several students to the hospital. And a long list of instances where teachers charged with instructing and protecting students called police to punish kids for simple infractions that, in another lifetime, would have earned them detention.
I’m not going to suggest that the job of teachers and school administrators is easy. I have a huge amount of respect for the patience, judgment and selflessness that most of them demonstrate on a daily basis. But it’s clear that their ranks are also riddled with idiots. From those who assist students in cheating on standardized tests to others who call law enforcement on babies throwing tantrums.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in the company of lots of kindergartners. I’ve even allowed my own children to sleep in my home on a nightly basis when they were kindergartners. They are not scary people. Even when they throw tantrums. When they get into the midst of a breakdown, it’s because they have temporarily lost control of their emotions—not because they don’t understand right from wrong or are intent on causing injury. Facing a misbehaving 6-year-old, what would possess you to call a dude who carries a gun and handcuffs for a living? It just boggles my mind.
The girl’s father acknowledged that his daughter suffers from “mood swings.” The translation of that statement is she’s often a little bad ass. She might even need some counseling. We have all known little bad ass six-year-olds. Some of them might have even lived in your home. But did it ever occur to you that the bad ass 6-year-old needed to be handcuffed by the police because of a tantrum? Thrown into a squad car? Charged with assault? Are you kidding me?
Come on, people, let’s try real hard to find some common sense.
1. Police Officers in School? A Recipe for Student Failure
2. A Middle Schooler Strip Searched in Front of Classmates? This Needs to Stop
3. Police Officer Sprays Arkansas Students With Pepper Spray to Clear the Halls
4. Black and Hispanic Students Face Harsher Discipline, Lower Grade Education In School
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.