Kindergartner Handcuffed and Arrested by GA Police

child arrestedSalecia Johnson, a 6-year-old girl, was recently arrested at school, handcuffed, placed in the back of a police car, and taken to the station after “throwing furniture, tearing items off the walls and knocking over a shelf, which injured the principal,” according to this article.

Salecia’s parents are very upset. They feel the school had “no business calling the police and handcuffing” their child. But, the police did try calling them several times, and their daughter was biting door knobs, jumping on a paper shredder, and trying to break glass frames.

This is not the first time a child this young has been arrested and handcuffed; however, school officials all over the nation are struggling – what should the rules be? If the child is a danger to herself and to those around her, and you can’t calm her down, and you can’t reach her parents, what do you do?

In the end, Salecia was charged with assault and damage to property, but won’t have to go to court because of her age. She was also suspended from school for the remainder of the school year.

Salecia’s mother said, “She has mood swings some days, which all of us have mood swings some days. I guess that was just one of her bad days.”

I have a few things to say about this.

First off – and, honestly, no offense to these parents – but, I’m sorry; you guess this was “just one of her bad days”? That is seriously what you told the reporters?  I know the bigger issue here is whether or not the police should be able to handcuff children this young. But for some reason, my mind hasn’t even had a chance to consider that part.

I’m still reeling over the fact that a 6-year-old can cause this much damage and upset. I wonder if the other children in her kindergarten class were injured or affected. I’m staggering over her parent’s reaction. I’d probably be livid if my daughter was handcuffed and taken to the station too (Can you imagine how scary that must have been for her?).  But I’d also be livid at my daughter for such a horrible display of behavior! And I have to think that this could not have been a behavior shocker for her parents; and if that is the case, why isn’t this child seeing someone professional!?

And, I’d like to think that if I ever find myself in this mother’s position, I’d tell the press, “I’m sorry. My daughter apparently has some serious issues needing immediate attention. Please find it in your heart to forgive her actions, remember her age, and stand by me – and any other families out there with troubled children – as I embark on what I’m sure will be a long journey for our family. I just want my daughter to get healthy, and to have a chance at becoming the happy girl I know is inside of her.”  Or something like that; but not “I guess this was just one of her bad days.”

What do you think?

What do you think?

Kindergartner Handcuffed and Arrested by GA Police

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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143 comments

  1. This child was completely out of control. The school has a responsibility to protect her, but also to protect the other children who had to observe this. How badly were they traumatized? This would have been a better story if the police had tazered her – imagine the outrage then!!! … as for spanking or strapping, if it’s a mental issue, it could things worse. But still, this is one kid who seems to be raised under the principle there are no consequences for her actions.

  2. Sorry but I have a child like this, 3 of them actually. The behavior is a fit of rage from a chemical imbalance in the brain. No form of drugs or therapy will help. All you can do in a situation like this is restrain the child by wrapping your arms and legs if needed around the child and whisper softly in the childs ear until they calm down. NOT HANDCUFF THEM!!! Granted when the child is going through this fit they do have the strength to hurt an adult if given the chance. The child will eventually grow out of it but in the meantime the parents will need alot of help from not only the school but doctors as well. I have been going through this type of situation for 5yrs.

  3. Profile photo of ray allen ray allen says:

    I’ve seen out of control behavior like this in children where they become a danger to themselves and others.

    I do not fault the police for handcuffing the child to protect her from herself, especially after multiple attempts to contact the parents.

    I would have transported the child to a hospital for a medical and/or psychiatric evaluation rather than to jail, though.

  4. Profile photo of PantyHose PantyHose says:

    Although I don’t think it can really be considered the fault of the child, most the fault of the local education system and society, I think the child should be placed in prison (for children) until society gets fixed. Mostly for the protection of the child.

  5. Profile photo of guayanes2 guayanes2 says:

    What this kid needs is a good old spanking everytime she gets out of line.Her parents need to make it VERY clear to her this kind of misconduct is just NOT acceptable.At that age there is NO substitue to firm ,caring but strict parents to correct rotten kids:No Police,No teachers,No "professionals" can take the place of the parents

  6. Profile photo of CherylBaker CherylBaker says:

    I do agree with the school (some what),if they couldn’t get in touch with the little girls parents(they did the right thing in calling the police and the police should have contacted the Dept of child services to find out why a 6 year old acted out like that). There is a underlying reason why a young child would lash out like that especially in school or any other place (without the parents being there). As for the girls parents they need to be checked out (by the Dept of child services to see if there’s problems in the girls home) to have her act out like that in school.

  7. Profile photo of Sarah Sarah says:

    Wow to arrest a 6yr old is just rediculous, They have councilers for a reason. Obviously none of them are trained to deal with tempermental children. In my hometown they have worse kids then that and they’ve never had to have a kid arrested. Maybe they need to re evaluate their staff, to see if any of them are qualified to deal with tempermental children, or bring in someone who can.

  8. Profile photo of Kekyzz Kekyzz says:

    I believe the child as well as her parents need professional help. You can’t just let your 6 year old act out like just because… They should evaluate this child carefully to determine if she has some kind of psychological problem… It might be a genetic disorder or just maybe a horrible way to get whatever she wants… Children like this should be taught from a very young age that things are not always like they want them to be when they want them to be… Teach them some discipline!! :/

  9. Profile photo of GWalk GWalk says:

    This poor child needs to receive help from professionals. The parents need to be sure she receives the care she needs. This behavior is not just a bad day. I don’t believe she should have been arrested but if the back of the cruiser was the safest place for her until her parents arrived then that is what should have been done. Her safety and her classmates safety should be the number one priority.

  10. I’m sorry, but for a child to openly act out like that at school…she has bigger issues than just the regular ole "mood swings". Her parents are stupid for not seeing it. The school did the right thing. She was a danger to the other children and the teachers.

  11. Profile photo of Melinda Melinda says:

    this happen to my son in kindergarten, but come to fine out my son had ADD,ADHD,Bipolar Disorder i think that if the school had not had a good officials there at the school to help him the same thing would have happen to him,i thank god he was there for my son, i think the parent needed to think about having there child testing to see there child may needed help and if there child get help now then she has a good changes at a good life and can fine the right school that can help there child i will pray for your daughter god bless your family….

  12. Last year, my son was in kindergarten and he had very similar extreme dangerous behaviors. He did not ever get handcuffed but he did get suspended many times. I stood up for my child because the way the school handled his outbursts escalated them (like give him a box of time out toys!!!), but I did everything in my power to support the school in getting control of the situation and demanded their support in maintaining control at home(consistency between home and school makes a huge impact). I withdrew my son from the school with only 2 weeks left in the school year and switched school districts entirely when it became obvious they weren’t willing to put my son in the program he needed. I am proud to say my son has not been suspended at all this year, and he is academically close to grade level now (two years worth of work in one year!). I have been the embarrassed parent, horrified to hear about outrageous disruptive dangerous tantrums and I cannot imagine just chalking any of his outbursts up to a "bad day"! The parents of this child need help whether they want it or not. There may not be anything the parents of this little girl are doing wrong, but this girl clearly needs something she isn’t getting! My son’s behaviors were coming from upset over his dad being MIA, us moving, his step-dad and I having a new baby, and worry about what the baby would be like. My son needed a neutral person to talk to about all of the major changes. Setting him set up with a professional to talk to has made a big difference.

  13. Profile photo of Pamela Pamela says:

    Despite the fact that we don’t know the whole story, The child, by 6 years old, should have known that this was not an acceptable behavior. The parents don’t seem to be doing their job as parents. "A bad day. . ." Really? This child might not necessarily have developmental issues, this could just be the result of a lack of discipline from the parents. I’ve know alot of developmentally challenged kids and most of them understood that throwing a fit such as this is unacceptable behavior.

  14. Profile photo of debbie debbie says:

    Hmm, another family in denial. Hmmm, mood swings. Wait until she’s in middle school. Parents need a reality check and better start saving for attorney fees. The handwriting is "on the wall" for this kid.

  15. Profile photo of Habiba Habiba says:

    i think school did the right thing

  16. Profile photo of Shawndine Shawndine says:

    There definitely needs to be a change at home with this child. Neither the school nor the police were out of line. Society has gotten far too lenient when it comes to discipline.

  17. Profile photo of FrankiBee FrankiBee says:

    Why would this child not get serious attention from CPS? Obviously there are serious problems at home that are not getting taken care of. If my child were to flip out, disrupt his/her class, injur others, and nobody could contact me, I would rather they send them to jail like a criminal before the kid actually becomes a criminal. Why are people not outraged that the situation was deemed as "another bad day"? This is insane to me! Remove the child, cos investigate, and prevent her from becoming a serial killer one day that shoots up her high school and kills innocent people! Just saying… Oh and I am a mother of a 5-year-old little boy too!!

  18. Profile photo of Colleen Colleen says:

    Totally agree.. no 6 year old should have this kind of behavior! I understand why the police were involved maybe they took it a little too far but the bigger issue is the girl’s behavior.

  19. Profile photo of Danielle Danielle says:

    that is NOT what I’d call a bad day that is what I’d call a child with serious issues who needs help! and she shouldn’t be around other children until she gets it! heaven forbid I would’ve had one of my children in that classroom who was injured because of this young girl’s outburst! I think the school made the right move because I’m sure had they tried to stop the young girl themselves they would have got in trouble for "laying hands on her" what other choice did the faculty have but to call the police? this girl is only 6 years old! I have never in my life heard of a 6 year old acting in such a manner and then for her mother to say it just must have been a bad day! WTH! open your eyes…your child needs help and I sure hope she gets it!

  20. Profile photo of WinterDreams WinterDreams says:

    Wow!! I can see why the police had to be involved, but i feel the parents are at fault and negligent. A child that age throwing that big of an anger fit is screaming there are some issues going on. The parent to chalk it up to oh shes just having a bad day is wow, speechless… She that ignorant or is she hiding some home behaviors and trying to keep CPS out of her home. Think if it is the later of the 2, she has just opened her door wide open…

  21. Profile photo of crismilian crismilian says:

    This is crazy I would have never imagined a 6 year old handcuffed, but after reading the story something needed to be done I just don’t get why teachers couldn’t stop that without calling the offices.

  22. Profile photo of jenn36 jenn36 says:

    I can’t believe the parents acting like it was just a bad day. I saw this kind of stuff happen with my brother years ago. This was before they had research about Bipolar, ADHD and ADD. I just do t understand parents these days. They should be responsible for their Childs actions.

  23. Profile photo of marylove marylove says:

    I don’t think that the police should have arrested her but I think an ambulance should have been called because this child needs mental help! I can’t understand how the parents acted like she did nothing wrong!

  24. Profile photo of laughingbaby laughingbaby says:

    This is one of those situations where I absolutely think the parents should be responsible for the behavior of the child. Obviously this child needs more help than the parents are able/willing to give, and they are being negligent in failing to provide it. Sure, you can’t put a 6 year old in jail. But you can put a parent in jail for negligence, especially negligence that led to an injury.

  25. Profile photo of Nicole Nicole says:

    I think that the school did what they needed to do. I think that the police need to do a home visit.

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