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Tantrum throwing six year old gets handcuffed&sent to mental hospital

Posted Feb 22 2010 7:41am

Do you think the school and police went too far? It sounds like this little girl has some definite behavioral issues and that the school needs to refer her to a specialist. I wonder if they ever discussed her behavior previously with the parents or if the school tried to develop some sort of behavior management plan?

As a former teacher, I have had to deal with tantrum throwing kids in the classroom. Thankfully none that would strike me or hit another student or teacher, but there was the potential of that happening because the student, a kindergartner, would kick chairs and crawl under tables, kicking and screaming if he didn't want to do something. I attributed his behavior problems to lack of sleep and parent involvement because he was in before school care between 6am and 7am and then wasn't picked up from school each day until after school around 6pm from the after school program.  However, one day I was upset and he asked why I was crying...and he said, 'my mom cries when my daddy hits her'. I then looked up and said what did you just say, and he repeated it to me. I then made up a report and notified the Principal and school counselor, neither of which assisted in reporting possible abuse at home. We did prepare a behavior management plan for the child, giving him smaller goals to earn rewards rather than having to earn a reward for the whole day based on his behavior. This plan worked well for him, though he did still have occasional outbursts.
Kathy Franklin sits with her 6-year-old daughter Haley at a bench inside the Whispering Pines Park playground area, while talking about how she is upset with what happened to her daughter while being disciplined at Parkway Elementary School last week. According to a St. Lucie County Sheriff's report, her daughter Haley was handcuffed to bring her under control while being disruptive in her first-grade class and a few days later, after another disruption in class, was taken to a mental facility for an evaluation. "Now they have my daughter scared to go back to school" Franklin said. (Photo by Eric Hasert )


PORT ST. LUCIE, FL -- Kathy Franklin says she wants to get her daughters back in school. But after her 6-year-old was handcuffed and then sent to a mental health facility, she no longer feels her children are safe at Parkway Elementary.

“These people are going to the extreme,” Franklin said. “She is so tiny. They didn’t have to use force on her.”

St. Lucie County Sheriff reports say Franklin’s daughter, Haley, was being disruptive on several occasions at school, throwing objects, hitting administration personnel and screaming uncontrollably. Last week after Haley wouldn’t calm down, a deputy handcuffed the 40-pound girl to get her under control.

On Tuesday, after another disruption, the girl was put under a law enforcement involuntary Baker Act and taken to a mental health facility. Franklin says the latest events have traumatized her daughter. She is afraid of law enforcement and school, she said.

“There is absolutely no reason for what they did,” Franklin said.

But St. Lucie County sheriff’s reports disagree. They say Haley was being disruptive on Feb. 3. She walked out of class and kicked a wall and school officials. She screamed and wouldn’t calm down for more than an hour.

The sheriff’s deputy handcuffed her in an attempt to get Haley under control, so she wouldn’t hurt herself or others, the report said.

“Haley was crying and saying that the handcuffs hurt. When I looked at her hands, she had one hand pulled almost all the way out, therefore, the handcuff was around her thumb and hand instead of her wrist, causing discomfort,” the report said.

The girl eventually calmed down after the handcuffs were removed and she returned to class. Haley said she doesn’t like school. It’s boring and the children make fun of her.

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