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Salecia Johnson: Kindergartner Handcuffed By Police For Tantrum

Salecia Johnson Handcuffed For Tantrum

Georgia police handcuffed a six-year-old kindergartner after the young girl allegedly threw a tantrum. While Salecia Johnson’s family are demanding that Milledgeville, G.A., alter a policy which allowed for her arrest, the police chief is defending the actions of those involved in the incident. Police Chief Dray Swicord was quoted by WMAZ News having said:

“Our policy states that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back and there is no age discrimination on that rule.”

According to the girl’s family, six-year-old Salecia was shaken up after being placed in a cell at the local police station. She was accused of throwing furniture and tearing items off the walls in a temper tantrum at Creekside Elementary School.

Police allege the individual knocked a shelf over that resulted in the school’s principal being injured. After the school called police, an officer attempted to calm the child, however, she resisted and was eventually handcuffed and charged with damage to property and simple assault.

Candace Ruff, the girl’s aunt, accompanied the child’s mother when it came time to retrieve their little one from the police station. When they arrived, Candace indicated that they found Salecia all by herself in a holding cell where she was complaining about the handcuffs. Ruff told the Associated Press:

“She said they [handcuffs] were really tight. She said they really hurt her wrists. She was so shaken up when we went there to pick her up. We would not like to see this happen to another child, because it’s horrifying. It’s devastating.”

Do you think placing 6-year-old Salecia Johnson in handcuffs and placing her in a holding cell was the appropriate course of action?

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Comments

41 Responses to “Salecia Johnson: Kindergartner Handcuffed By Police For Tantrum”

  1. Amy Stitzel Vandemark

    The problem here is the parents – they are teaching their child not to accept responsibility for her actions by telling her she was treated wrongly when in fact none of this would have happened if she would have behaved. She injured one adult and was trying to injure others as well – I don't see that there was really a choice in the matter, she needed to be cuffed and deserved to be hauled away. Perhaps it will teach her a lesson. Seems like there is a lack of discipline in that household.

    Perhaps they should also look into getting her some professional help. It is NOT normal for a 6yr old to behave that way. Her parents say she has "mood awings" and was just having a bad day (making excuses for her). Seems the child may be mentally unbalanced and could maybe benefit from medication as well.

  2. Bobby Elkins

    Had I been her mother she would have gotten a good old fashioned butt whooping when she returned home.And parents wonder why their children are so out of control..She complained about the cuffs and was alone in a cell,surely her mom didn't think she would have playmates with her along with a bunch of toys….

  3. Jack McHugh

    Why not call the "men in the white coats". – Don't they have a pediatric one? Maybe a padded PT Cruiser?

  4. Joe Colehour

    I think law enforcement acted appropriately in this situation given the nature of the tantrum. The 6 year old was in a public place and it was more than just a "tantrum." Let's call it what it is, "A violent episode." My kids throw tantrums sometimes just as any others do however, none of them, or none that I know for that matter; have ever involved throwing large objects which result in bodily injury. In this case, they had to get the kid out of that situation before somone else got hurt or before she seriously hurt herself. Kids who have issues such as this usually are haveing problems at home. There isn't such a thing as a problem kid. Kids are not the problem, usually the parents are the problem. It's not always the case but most of the time it is.

  5. Patches Lee

    If a parent was caught doing this they'd be arrested. But the guys with badges apparently have training on how to do this so guess that makes it okay.

  6. Doreen Prescher Heller

    And if it were another child doing the same things, and injured little Salecia in the process, the parents would probably sue the school! Actions have consequences. This experience hopefully will teach her that and she won't get in to trouble going forward!

  7. Jeb Brown

    I agree, most of the time the problem is the parents not being responsible and teaching it to their kids. My wife is an elemtntary school teacher of 40 yrs and I know a lot of others incl principals. They have all delt with violent situations of one sort or another. When a child behaves this way and the police have to be called, the police have ALL the jurisdiction at that time. When the child wouldn't calm down she, just like any other violent offender, must be restrained. It's the law. Too many people today believe they are victims and are teaching their kids the same thing. "It's not my fault. It's someone elses". It's time this stopped.

  8. Galina Markman

    She was harming others and was potentially harming herself, and to add insult to injury, she was resisting from orders from the Government. It doesn't matter what age they are. True, she might have been clueless that her actions could potentially harm somebody, but that doesn't mean what she was doing wasn't wrong.

  9. Ola Akinruli

    Do you really think the appropriate action was to handcuff her? Shouldn't the parent be the first to be notified and have them come get her and deal with the kid? Do you think this was a criminal matter that involves the police? People need to exercise common sense.

  10. Bobby Elkins

    Ola Akinruli there were several attempts to contact her mother but as usual she could not be reached and therefore seeing the way some black women are she was probably on her cell phone or texting or something else as I have witnessed this all to often and even when the child is next to them they are way to consumed with a useless text or phone call instead of taking care of the children and yes,white folks do it as well…HELL YES she should have been cuffed and if her mother was any type of parent at all she would have gotten her as- tore up when she got home…Children only know what they see and what they are taught and as a parent it is their responsibility to teach them right from wrong and throwing things and tearing things up is a NO NO for any child…and obviously had it been a white kid you would be stating something quite different…………

  11. David Sanchez

    Ola Akinruli ; the appropriate action would have been to beat the child until she calmed down or was out cold. Yes, this was a criminal action and yes they had to call the police. And you are right – some people need to exercise common sense. But instead, this little girl (menace to society) will learn that being violent in public will go unpunished by her parents.

  12. David Sanchez

    What should have been done? Talk nicely to her until she stopped throwing things and hurting others? Really? I'm sure if she threw things at YOUR child you would think differently.

  13. David Sanchez

    If I had thrown a "temper tantrum" like that and they had to call the police, my dad would have made sure that my lesson was learned and learned the hard way. My butt would STILL be red!

  14. Dorothy Potts

    I do think it was appropriate action for this 6-year old. Now, if mom and auntie don't blow it, maybe…just maybe this kid will learn a lesson. I do think she needs some psychological help because no young child should suffer from "mood swings" such as this. If she is this out of control at 6 years old, can you imagine what it is going to be like when she is 16? Quit making excuses for her and get some help.

  15. Maria Hoch Spallees

    Wow, going to that extreme..poor child, obviously needs psychological help, medication. A lot of drs wont evaluate a child til they're school age. The parents were probably struggling with this for years with no help from anyone

  16. Jaime Nelson

    I agree, with the actions of the "temper tantrum", detaining her was appropriate. It is also an obvious act of a plea for help…maybe something is going on somewhere in her life and no one is noticing our caring. She needs help for sure.

  17. Jaime Nelson

    I agree, with the actions of the "temper tantrum", detaining her was appropriate. It is also an obvious act of a plea for help…maybe something is going on somewhere in her life and no one is noticing our caring. She needs help for sure.

  18. Amy Januska

    She's six years old! She doesn't fully understand the concept of right and wrong. The fact that police had to be called is insane. Can school administrators really not take care of the situation? You put a crying kid in a corner, by herself. You build up a school atmosphere where kids don't have the time or the want to throw tantrums in the first place. You don't call the police every time a little kid has a tantrum.

    I've had two full grown male students break out into a fight in the middle of the classroom and yelled so loud they looked like they were going to pee themselves. I didn't need to call the cops for that and I sure wouldn't call the cops for a 6 year old that's 1/4th my size.

    I think this little girl really was treated wrongly. Sometimes the best behaved kids throw tantrums. They throw things, they scream, they cry, they hit, they bite. That's what small children do. You don't put them in handcuffs and throw them into an adult prison cell, unsupervised.

    Part of the problem is that we've designed this whole society where we CAN'T punish children. I've had parents call and complain because I have their kid stay after for detention. My two boys that were suspended for fighting were thrilled: 3 days of staying home with TV and videogames and no parents to watch them because they had to work. Teachers are becoming more and more powerless. Parents are just as powerless; if you're a parent and spank your kid then you're abusing them.

  19. Esther Williams

    While I don't think the police should have been called, i think that most schools ..especially in GA aren't prepared to handle a small tantruming child. I sincerely doubt this was her first instance of this type of behavior. Also school officials are really limited to what they can do as far ad discipline with a child, and with schools who are short on staff all ready what would you like them to do? Also this article left out the part where she was biting doorknobs, fighting other kids, trying to break glass frames, pulling stuff off walls, throwing around chairs, and something about jumping on shredders i think. The mom is reported as saying… something along the lines of she has mood swings and she was having a bad day. So i doubt the school gets much help from the parents.

  20. Patches Lee

    Police need training on how to deal with kids that are apparently so dangerous that handcuffs are okay. Can you really tell me that's the only way it could have been handled? It's not a new issue kids getting handcuffed and it being questions, so why haven't police agencies come up with a way to deal with when things get that far?
    Since you already assume to know how I would react if she threw something at my daughter, you should have already have know what I was saying in the first place.

  21. Jodilyn Solomon

    Ola Akinruli – I would love to believe that the parents would be able to do something, and that their reponse to the situation would be appropriate and help prevent the situation from happening again. Unfortunately, especially as the child has had other "bad days," this sort of firm, outside the family reaction may help deter her in the future. What is the goal? To get this child back on track to be a positive and contributing citizen. Sometimes the shock is what is needed to derail the way a child is used to operating. As a public school teacher, I have had to restrain young children, and I have had to call for security when safety of others or the environment was in jeopardy. I imagine that all the behavior protocols were followed for this child – she was already in the principal's office. Either she needs to be evaluated for additional assistance, or she needs to be shocked into understanding the social contract. In addition to the safety of the affected parties, it is in her best interest to help her back onto the right path.

  22. Jodilyn Solomon

    and, better she learn this and break the pattern now, when it will not be so easy to subdue her, or when she is capable of even more serious harm.

  23. Jodilyn Solomon

    If a parent was caught doing what the child was doing the parent would be convicted of assault and vandalism. Wouldn't it be great if she learns that the behavior is unacceptable and learns to manage herself *before* developing a criminal record? The mother said she has "bad days" like this, and so either the parents can't manage her or don't, and it has happened before. She needs something to break the cycle, shock her out of feeling this behavior is acceptable.

  24. Deborah James

    The child (and probably the parents) need mental health counseling. Her behavior was inappropriate for her age. She probably won't have any more tantrums at school when she does return. Not to mention taunts from other children.

  25. Deborah James

    The child (and probably the parents) need mental health counseling. Her behavior was inappropriate for her age. She probably won't have any more tantrums at school when she does return. Not to mention taunts from other children.

  26. Lisa DeBari Malave

    While I was appalled when I first saw the headlines of a 6yr old child being handcuffed for a tantrum, after reading the complete article I have to agree with actions that were taken. As all I have to go on is what was written, I would agree that this child needs to be evaluated and perhaps rec've counseling to help her deal with anger issues. Family counseling would also be a step in the right direction. I still have a slight issue of leaving handcuffs on her while in her cell where she was alone, however, maybe they were concerned she would try to hurt herself. Poor little girl, I hope she rec'ves help. God be with her.

  27. Lisa DeBari Malave

    While I was appalled when I first saw the headlines of a 6yr old child being handcuffed for a tantrum, after reading the complete article I have to agree with actions that were taken. As all I have to go on is what was written, I would agree that this child needs to be evaluated and perhaps rec've counseling to help her deal with anger issues. Family counseling would also be a step in the right direction. I still have a slight issue of leaving handcuffs on her while in her cell where she was alone, however, maybe they were concerned she would try to hurt herself. Poor little girl, I hope she rec'ves help. God be with her.

  28. George Gonzalez

    No comment here because IT IS HER PARENTS WHO SHOULD BE IN JAIL and the little savage in a foster home ! She needs to understand to behave in a social setting.

  29. Sarah Murphy

    police departments actually tend to resist working with the mental health emergency team because they are afraid that the perpetrators will get a "free ride." So even if there is one situation when it is perfectly reasonable to call the white coats, it is not part of their protocol and so they don't do it. I worked as an emergency mental health clinician and at least in my area, that was a big problem. The director was still trying to work something out with the police when I departed…every part of the system is fractured and separated because no one wants to take the blame so they blame everyone else instead.

  30. Sarah Murphy

    it is a little strange that she still had handcuffs on if she was inside of a locked cell….I mean, everyone likes to get all suspicious of the police, but they aren't stupid. They are much better at covering their asses than displaying them to the parent who is obviously going to throw a fit…I am betting that either they have some kind of protocol for safety reasons or the little girl was continuing to behave in a way that was physically damaging so they had no other choice. But I agree with you, I hope that it was done out of necessity and not to teach her a lesson

  31. Jack McHugh

    Sarah Murphy Interesting point. Another way I see it is the police want more and more control and power, and want to lock up any robot that malfunctions in public. I don't mean so much the rank and file men in blue, although we all know they have their share of power trips there too. Some of them you know were the hall monitors in school! It's the people in Govt, going all the way to the top (prez), more so, those at the top "behind the scenes". A defense lawyer could make a good case for "why didn't you call a mental health crisis team, counselor, etc" I still like my padded PT Cruiser idea, though.

  32. Jack McHugh

    Sarah Murphy Interesting point. Another way I see it is the police want more and more control and power, and want to lock up any robot that malfunctions in public. I don't mean so much the rank and file men in blue, although we all know they have their share of power trips there too. Some of them you know were the hall monitors in school! It's the people in Govt, going all the way to the top (prez), more so, those at the top "behind the scenes". A defense lawyer could make a good case for "why didn't you call a mental health crisis team, counselor, etc" I still like my padded PT Cruiser idea, though.

  33. Jack McHugh

    I get the whole "it's the parents" thing. I knew that would be a big response here, but we're talking about a time factor. It's happening NOW, obviously the parent wasn't reachable. So, what to do in the immediate situation is where I was coming from. You all absolutely right though. You can trace the whole behavior issue right back to the parents. Then it's how do we "fix" them? Whole can of worms there.

  34. Jack McHugh

    I get the whole "it's the parents" thing. I knew that would be a big response here, but we're talking about a time factor. It's happening NOW, obviously the parent wasn't reachable. So, what to do in the immediate situation is where I was coming from. You all absolutely right though. You can trace the whole behavior issue right back to the parents. Then it's how do we "fix" them? Whole can of worms there.

  35. Ileane Grossman Frank

    I think the little girl was s reaming out for help. Something must have been going on I'm her life that she had no other way of dealing with and she probably doesn't even understand. Not sure it's all about the 6 yr old but rather life situation. I hope they figure it out and she gets help.

  36. Ileane Grossman Frank

    I think the little girl was s reaming out for help. Something must have been going on I'm her life that she had no other way of dealing with and she probably doesn't even understand. Not sure it's all about the 6 yr old but rather life situation. I hope they figure it out and she gets help.