School Resource Officer Reportedly Handcuffed Children With ADHD
A school resource officer is accused of handcuffing children with ADHD — as a form of punishment. According to a lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner disciplined two children under the age of 10 by placing them in handcuffs during school.
As stated in the lawsuit, which was filed by the ACLU, the incidents occurred at Latonia Elementary School in Covington, Ky., during the 2014-2015 school year.
Kevin Sumner, who was appointed as a school resource officer, reportedly punished an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year old girl by restraining them in handcuffs. According to the lawsuit, both children were previously diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
As discussed by the Mayo Clinic, children with ADHD often struggle with behavioral issues — as “difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior” are common symptoms.
Children diagnosed with ADHD may require special attention in a traditional school setting, as they are easily distracted and are often hyperactive.
An investigation into the Latonia Elementary School incident revealed the 8-year-old boy attempted to strike Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner. As a result, the school resource officer handcuffed the child for approximately 15 minutes.
The incident gained national attention, as it was filmed by a third party and released to the public.
The disturbing footage reveals the child was handcuffed around his biceps, as they were simply too large to restrain his wrists. In the video, the boy pleads with the officer to remove the handcuffs. However, Sumner told the boy he would not remove the restraints until the boy asked him “nicely” and agreed “to behave.”
The school resource officer also reportedly handcuffed a 9-year-old girl on at least two occasions. However, it is unclear what led up to the incidents.
As reported by CNN, the ACLU does not deny the children were acting out. However, the organization accuses the school resource officer of violating the children’s rights — as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act. ACLU attorney Susan Mizner explains.
“Shackling children is not okay. It is traumatizing, and in this case it is also illegal… Using law enforcement to discipline students with disabilities only serves to traumatize children. It makes behavioral issues worse and interferes with the school’s role in developing appropriate educational and behavioral plans for them.”
In addition to the school resource officer, Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn was named in the handcuffing incidents — as he is accused of failing to provide proper training.
— IJReview (@ijreview) August 4, 2015
In a formal statement, a Covington Independent Public Schools representative said Kevin Sumner was hired “to maintain the safety of students and staff.” However, he was “not called upon by school district staff to punish or discipline a student who engages in a school-related offense.” According to school officials, the school resource officer was not asked to handcuff the students.
[Image via Shutterstock]