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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  1. I do think it is too much to handcuff a 6 year old and send her to jail. I’m also not sure how else they could have restrained her. I do agree with a lot of what’s already been said; this is not a regular tantrum, the parents are ridiculous for not seeing that she needs help. The school staff and/or police should have brought her to get medical attention. The parents need to learn how to help their daughter then educate the girl’s teacher and principal on how to help her when she bursts into an outrage like that.

  2. meghan lloyd says:

    This is really sad. This is not normal behavior for any 6 year old. Schools need to have a SAFE PLACE for incidents like this. I don’t think handcuffs are a solution. A child at 6 years old isnt and shouldn’t ever be held accountable for their actions. There is clearly something wrong with the bigger picture. Race is such an ignorant thing to focus on. In school the child and all her classmates are at serious risk. This type of behavior should be recognized by the professional adults and investigated. Self control, physical and emotional should be observed,taught and be developing at this age. Its scary to think what access to a weapon and a couple years could add to this situation. It really sounds like there is a major problem at home. Very sad

  3. Hstuebe says:

    Why did you post a picture of a white child with this story? Are you trying to avoid the topic of race? Salecia is black and was treated by police as a black resident of most Southern states might expect to be treated, violently and disrespectfully. This is not to be condoned but is hardly rare. May I direct your attention to Why are your readers so intent upon blaming the child and her parents when it’s the RACIST police who are at fault in this scenario?

    • will says:

      At any time a person adult or child are a danger to ones self or others the standard thing is to take the person in some sort of custody and many times the requires restraint. Weather the persons race or age, all incidents of this matter are handled the same manner. The child dose have some issues, be at home or metal instability either way they need to be addressed accordingly. Race is not an issue here it’s just plain safety for everyone around her.

    • meghan lloyd says:

      really???? lets compare apples to oranges.
      the little girl was clearly out of control yeah RACIST COPS suck but that has nothing to do with what we are discussing there is clearly a problem but The physical safety of her and her class mates should be the biggest priority!!!!

    • kat says:

      i think the main point of this blog was not to start a race war but to point out the mental health of the child and the fact that they would do the to ANY child also the obvious disregard for the childs mental state from her parents

    • Tameka says:

      I agree with you Hstuebe!

  4. Kristian says:

    I’m my opinion I truly feel that there’s something not being mentioned as to why she’s acting out the way she did she instead of them grabbing the girl and holding her tightly they called the police. Children act out how you choose to deal with it shows them if you care. Her family probably need counseling because there’s no way the mom’s only comment is bad day.

  5. Mari says:

    I feel bad for the little 6year old girl, there must be something going on in her life causing this kind of behavior. The parents should take active action in this matter. I am under the impression that this is not the first time this happens due to the mothers remarks. May the Lord help and guide this family.

  6. ShelbyWhite says:

    i think that the parents need to be evaluated and the little girl needs her but spanked more i never acted like that as a kid cause my parents were not scared to spank me and wernt threatened with going to prison for doing it

  7. Ami says:

    Living with mental health issues must be hard enough on that poor girl without her being handcuffed by people who are probably just as mentally or emotionally unstable if not more so, why then would her parents want to worsen the problem by trumpeting their daughters hardship all over the news?

    I’d frankly be much more mortified about having parents that insensitive to my mental health issues than about throwing a tantrum at school, those places are unsafe and full of sick people and I’m not talking about the children.
    I would never trust my child’s education to the kind of people who would think it was acceptable to have him/her handcuffed, if I were those parents I would sue.

  8. sheena says:

    makes you wounder what kind of parents they have i bet anything he is getting abused at home are neglated and is acting out to get help i mean what else could it be

  9. tspokes007 says:

    what bad parents, who would allow such behavior or even say “its just a bad day”…. i think the kid deserved to get arrested and so do the parents

  10. Alyssa says:

    Yes, the little girl may have been bad but really, arresting her? they could’ve managed the situation differently, arresting children is unthinkable.

  11. Crystal says:

    Please ignore the incomplete msg. below. So, as a teacher in FL, and comparing this little girl’s behavior to my new student from GA, I have concerns about students who have such severe behavior, as my little boy HAD as well, but he has adjusted to my routine with parent communication and incentive for good behavior/ choices. We’ve had students sent to the principal’s office and parents notified, but never would they handcuff a 5 year old. I would think the teacher could have contacted the guidance counselor or had her removed from the classroom to de-escalate the situation before it got out of control. I’ve yet to meet a child, especially at the early childhood age, who can’t be manipulated with rewards and incentives, even those with ADD, ADHD, RAD, EH, bi-polar disorder, etc. Also, this little girl needs consistent consequences for her actions, but really, how effective would this be to hand cuff her? The severity of this act will most likely have a long term affect on her. What were they thinking?

  12. Adriane says:

    Wow, the girls problem is what is wrong with a lot of children now days. First, let me say I have a son with ADHD and emotional issues, so I know what a struggle it is to deal with an emotionally out of control child. But he has never done anything like that. Kids need strict and structured discipline. I know way too many parents who don’t discipline their kids enough and because of that their kids are out of control. I’m not saying my kids are perfect but they know if they ever did anything like that they would be grounded from everything for an eternity. I think it’s sad that it has come to this but schools do not have much choice anymore. If they discipline the kid in anyway they could loose their job. they can’t get ahold of the parents. What else could they do. I would hope that even though it would scare the child that they would learn from it. ” I better not do anything like that again.” Obviously her parents are not disciplining her and the child thinks she can do whatever she wants. I’m not saying you need to beat the fear of god into your children but they all need some form of discipline. Children with ADHD and other issues need more structured discipline. I can tell my daughter simply not to do something and most of the time she listens. I have to repeatedly tell my son not to do something and usually put him in time out or ground him from electronics before he gets the point.

  13. tamie says:

    wow omg there is something wronge some where in that childs life I suggest taken her to her doc to have testing done to find out if there is any thing medicaly wronge that could be causeing these behaviors could just be a imbalance some where in her body and for the parents to reach out to other parents with simerlar problems could be a world of support an help to them and there daughter to everyone else don’t judge them cause it so easily could be you the next think how you would feel

  14. Elisakaye says:

    I understand the debate. BUT.. What else could they have done. She was posing harm to herself and others. Obviously asking her to sit down was not going to work. Putting her in a room by herself she could have hurt herself not to mention there would be debate about that as well ( 6 year old locked in room by school) I honestly Believe they did what they could to the best of their ability. Yes I think what if that was my child… And I would Def ask what they tried but also if I knew this was not out of the ordinary I would of set up a plan with the school on how to handle the situation. But I also think what ifi add the teacher, principal or the police and in that situation witha child that is not only hurting adults but other children at risk of being hurt. It is their job to protect all and if that was the best most efficient way to protect the children,her and themselves and remove her from the area the so be it. There might have been a better waybut reallyi don’t understand all the criticism when they didn’t do what we all not in the situating think they should have done. You have to think it could have beena lot worse. They could of locket her self and she could of seriously hurt herself. Let keep going and seriously injure other little kids…. The list goes on.

  15. jamie says:

    There is a difference between tantrums and outta control this is where i believe positive discipline is in order spanking and child abuse is diffrent some kids you just cant spare the rod

  16. Heather says:

    It’s clear the kid isn’t being heard. What you call “fits” I call “meltdowns”. The second thing is it’s apparent the thought of how the kid possibly felt overwhelmed and/or frustrated about new information and nobody was paying any attention. Lastly this article is about something that happened in my home state. We let the kids ride their temper tantrums out and shrug it off old school Appalachia style.

  17. Krystal says:

    I had fits as a child, threw things including myself, but never at school and never caused any more harm then a bruise or two. My step-mother put me on my bed, in my room, and in time I quite. I’ve been told that it was attention seeking behavior. My parents were divorced, and my mother (who I lived with) worked alot so my brother practically raised me. If I acted out too much I got spanked and had to sit in the corner. Can’t imagine my parents reactions if I’d acted out enough to hurt people or have the cops called, would have been grounded for more then a summer that’s for sure.

  18. Tangee says:

    I agree! There are behavior issues there and whether they are caused by a developmental problem, disease, or not good parenting is in question… I think this is why we see so many horrible things on the news like school shootings, suicides, and many other issues because of the lack of parenting.. take interest in your child no matter what you have going on, pay attention, and give them the love and affection they need before they shut themselves off and have issues like these…
    Secondly.. If the administrators didn’t know what to do without being able to get a hold of the parents, and calling the police was an option, but the police should not have handcuffed her, that was treating her like a criminal which she is not. Maybe taking her somewhere she wasn’t familiar with helped calm her down, but could be a traumatizing experience at that age. Anyway, hope the parents will get her help and maybe they need family counseling as well to help them determine their role as parents.

  19. Brandy says:

    My 4yr old acts like this. He has never gotten this bad at school, but its come pretty close. My son also has alot of issues and is in speech, occupational and behavioral therapies. He has severe sensory issues and we are currently waiting to have him tested for autism (appointment isn’t til April).
    With all that being said I don’t think the child should of been handcuffed, but the school did handle it pretty well. This child does need help and that’s very obvious. Hopefully the parents will see that and help fix the problem.

  20. Jamie says:

    What else could the school really do? The child was physically out of control and if the were to touch her the parents would probably sue. Maybe it was excessive but her behavior was also. Granted the girl probably was scared and thats good she needs to learn that violent behavior has that consequence. It seems maybe they need to stop making excuses for her and hold her accountable for her actions because the world will when shes grown

  21. crieth says:

    Those parents need to wake up their is either something wrong with that little girl, since she obviously thought it was ok to do that, or her parents need to discipline her a little better so she understand that those things are not ok. She may have a serious anger problem.

  22. Christina says:

    Samantha yoou are so right the parents are the responeable ones for what they little girl is going through

  23. Samantha says:

    The parents’ response was ridiculous. Society has allowed excuses for or children’s behavior instead of holding them accountable. I will always hold my children accountable even if they suffer from a disorder that may impair them because they will never learn how to control it.

  24. John Haley says:

    Inevitably this all boils down to being the parents responsibility. I cannot judge one way or another, as I am not walking in those shoes. All I can do is pray for the child and the parents. Hopefully, everything will work out in a positive way.

  25. Anarosa says:

    more shocked with parents response. wake up call to the parents, maybe your child needs some help in managing emotions, something every child has to learn.

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