A 6-year-old kindergartner in Milledgeville, Ga. was placed handcuffed and arrested last week after a tantrum in class.
According to police reports, Salecia Johnson was misbehaving, ripping items off walls and tossing furniture across her classroom. She was sent to the principal’s office, where she allegedly continued the tantrum, jumping on office equipment while attempting to shatter a glass frame on the wall. The report also said that Salecia knocked over a shelf, which slightly injured her principal.
An officer was called to the school and attempted to calm Johnson down. She resisted and consequently was placed in handcuffs and taken to the local police station.
Milledgeville Chief of Police Dray Swicord has said that the arresting officer will not be investigated for his decision, according to a WMAZ-TV report.
“Our policy is that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back,” Swicord told WMAZ. “There is no age discrimination on that rule.”
Johnson was charged with simple assault and property damage, but due to her age, she cannot be prosecuted, WMAZ reports. Johnson’s mother, Constance Ruff, told local media that her daughter has been suspended from school, and cannot return to classes until August.
"She has mood swings some days, which all of us had mood swings some days. I guess that was just one of her bad days that day," Ruff told WMAZ.
Johnson’s parents are currently trying to organize community support, meeting with several activists and ministers earlier this week. One local supporter told WMAZ there were plans to take legal action against the Milledgeville Police Department and possibly contact Al Sharpton in an effort to bring the story to the national forefront.
Candace Ruff, Johnson’s aunt, speaking to WMAZ said although her niece had misbehaved, she did not think that her actions were severe enough to warrant an arrest.
“Call the police? Is that the first step?” she asked. “Or is there any other kind of intervention that can be taken to help that child?”