Parents and community leaders gathered at a Murfreesboro, Tennessee, church Sunday to complain to authorities after police arrested and handcuffed several elementary school students for an off-campus incident, the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal is reporting.
Cops showed up at Hobgood Elementary School on Friday and handcuffed at least five students, the youngest of whom as 6-years-old, and the oldest of whom was 10. Police say they had warrants to arrest the children because they failed to stop a fight that took place off-campus.
According to Raw Story, police saw footage of the fight taking place in a neighborhood in the middle Tennessee city of 100,000 people and deemed that the children present did not do enough to stop it.
The kids were taken to a nearby juvenile detention facility and then released to their parents.
Speaking to a capacity crowd at First Baptist Church, parent Zacchaeus Crawford, who said three of the kids were among those handcuffed, stated that handcuffing small children and putting them into the juvenile justice system is ridiculous in the extreme.
“There are innocent kids that have been arrested that have been entered in a system they have no business in. This is nonsense, and it is nonsense in the fullest definition. My anger is not just festering. I’m not going to lie to you, my anger is over-boiling.”
Parents: Hobgood Elementary students handcuffed, detained https://t.co/XvQx2Ywce4. This is some BS!
— Dionne Woolfolk (@Diowoo) April 18, 2016
Christopher Williams, a youth pastor at First Baptist Church, wondered if failing to stop a fight is even a crime worth arresting anyone — children or adults — over.
“I hope we’re not setting a precedent where there’s a fight and we send everyone and their mom to jail.”
School board candidate David Settles called on Murfreesboro’s police chief to get to the bottom of what’s happening on his police force.
“I’m sorry for the new police chief because you came into a fireball, and when I say fireball — hell is about to break loose if you do not get a handle on this.”
Murfreesboro Police Chief Karl Durr and City Manager Rob Lyons were both in attendance at First Baptist, although they provided few answers. Durr said he wants to “make things better so they don’t happen again,” but he didn’t provide any specifics. Lyons promised to correct anything that needs to be corrected, but again, did not provide specifics.
Murfreesboro City Manager Names Karl Durr Chief of Police https://t.co/H4Apigp41j … pic.twitter.com/obnNQbq9ae
— City of Murfreesboro (@cityofmborotn) February 26, 2016
RELATED REPORTS BY THE INQUISITR
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is just the latest city to see some of its elementary school students handcuffed and taken to jail over schoolyard shenanigans. In 2012 in Baltimore, for example, four elementary school students were handcuffed and hauled out of school for their role in a couple of off-campus incidents, according to WBAL (Baltimore).
Parent Loretta Hammonds, whose 9-year-old daughter was one of the kids arrested, said cops arrested the kids in front of the whole school.
“They took the children outside in front of the school, in front of whoever could see, and told them to put their hands behind their heads.”
Do you believe it’s okay to arrest and handcuff elementary school children for failing to stop a fight?
[Image via Shutterstock/muhmetcan]