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Cuffing the Kids By: David Yeagley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, April 27, 2005

American law enforcement is no longer hesitant about arresting children. Just as we were trying to forget about Janet Reno’s order for federal agents to point machine guns at 6-year-old Elian Gonzales’ head, Reno’s legacy of terrorism against children has expanded beyond her wildest dreams: Police are now handcuffing children in kindergarten and using tasers on 6-year-olds.

Monday, March 14, 2005, a five-year-old black girl was handcuffed by police in her kindergarten room in South Pinellas, Florida. She had been in a tantrum, swinging her fists at Assistant Principal Nicole Dibenedetto and others. The child climbed up on a table four times and was being as violent and destructive as a 5-year-old girl knew how to be. Ms. Dibenedetto used all the latest psychobabble from a Pinellas school district training course called Crisis Prevention Intervention in a vain attempt to calm the child (certainly a wasteful expenditure of taxpayers money).


When the police came an hour later, the child, Ja’eisha Scott, became suddenly still, setting quietly at Ms. Dibenedetto’s table. This won her no quarter, as the police slapped cuffs on the impudent, ill-mannered child, and took her out. Naturally, the child’s mother, Inga Akins, has attorneys examining all aspects of the case – which could cost the school district even more money.


Florida appears to be particularly egregious in its use of police tactics against minors:


  • Police used a taser gun on a 6-year-old in Kelsey Pharr Elementary in Miami, Florida in November, 2004.
  • The previous month, October 2004, 8-year-old Isaac Sutton got in a fight with another child, was cuffed and taken to juvenile detention in Tallahassee, Florida. His mother, Pamela Kelley, later went public with the story. (The young boy’s attorney, Kathy Garner, said he just needed a good talking to.)
  • The month before that, 7-year-old Johnny Lee Morris was arrested at Jefferson Elementary School in Monticello, Florida, where he was handcuffed and taken to a juvenile detention center.
  • Kyle Fredrickson, 12, was arrested, cuffed, and taken to jail in Inverness, Florida, for stomping in a puddle to splash water on his classmates.

 And unfortunately, these heavy-handed measures are not confined to the Sunshine State.


  • December 11, 2004, Porsche Brown, a ten-year-old girl, was arrested at her elementary school in Philadelphia, and taken to the police station in a patrol wagon. She had brought a pair of scissors from home, and according to state law, the scissors constituted a potential weapon. The girl’s mother, Rose Jackson, was outraged. “My daughter cried and cried,” said her mother, Rose Jackson. “She had no idea what she did was wrong.” Philadelphia public schools systems are notorious for ill-behaved students, but ten-year-olds bearing scissors now captivate police attention.
  • April 4, 2002, a sixth grader in Madison, Wisconsin, was suspended from school for bringing a serrated table knife to school to dissect an onion for a science project. Christian Schmidt, a 12-year-old, was a straight-A student at Cherokee Middle School. His father, Larry Jorgenson asked, “Does ‘no tolerance’ also mean ‘no common sense’?” Superintendent Valencia Douglass retorted, “The only way to ensure the safety of all students is to bar all weapons from campus.” Administrators told the family in a letter that they'll recommend a one-year expulsion for “possession of a dangerous weapon” to the school board. However, Jorgenson said the district  told the family unofficially that if Christian admits he committed a “crime,” submits to a psychological evaluation, and completes an anger management course, he would be eligible to return to school this year.

Isn’t this beautiful? This inflicts an emotionally scarring incident on a child and gives him a criminal record as early as possible in life.


Why is this series of arrests taking place? Because of the permissive atmosphere engendered by the ACLU, the NEA, and child advocate organizations. All of these have so inhibited the basic disciplines necessary in child training that to survive and yet avoid a lawsuit, schoolteachers and administrators have no choice but to call the police. The leftists have designed these very circumstances, and yet they are the first to express outrage when the police arrive. Handcuffs all ‘round seems to be the Left’s version of “No child left behind.”


Leftists still forbid teachers from teaching their students the simplest social graces (that would be judgmental). Then they sue anyone who violates this rule. When the children respond as they naturally should, the police must be called in; thus, we have seen the rapid increase of the American police state.


The police state is strong in Florida elementary schools – and this means children are getting used to it. As they carry their police records into adulthood, they will think nothing of the constant presence of police and law enforcement. They will have been conditioned to the hand of Big Brother violently intruding in the lives of even the youngest citizens.

Dr. David A. Yeagley is a published scholar, professionally recorded composer, and an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies. He's on the speakers list of Young America's Foundation. E-mail him at badeagle2000@yahoo.com. View his website at http://www.badeagle.com.

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