School district officials stand by a decision by police to handcuff an 8-year-old girl who was throwing a tantrum at her elementary school Tuesday.
Teachers at LoveJoy Elementary School in Alton, Ill., couldn’t handle Jymha Rickman's outburst so they called the police, who restrained the girl with handcuffs and put her in the back of a police cruiser, according to Nehemiah Keeton, Rickman's uncle, and St. Louis local news site KMOV.com
The girl then spent two hours in jail, where authorities repeatedly refused her requests to use the bathroom, Keeton claimed.
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"Her eyes were swollen from her crying and her wrists had welts on them," Keeton told KMOV.com. "They cuffed her feet too and she asked to use the restroom several times and was ignored."
Keeton said he told school officials Tuesday he would come to pick up his niece, but they called police anyway.
"As a last resort we sometime have to involve law enforcement," Alton Schools Assistant Superintendent Kristi Baumgartner told KMOV.com. "They take the student into protective custody when the parent refuses to pick up the child."
Alton police told reporters they feel they acted appropriately. Hickman was indeed handcuffed, they said, and was supervised in a detention room at the station.
Keeton said Hickman is traumatized and scared to return to school, according to KMOV.com.
"I feel like if you can’t handle an 8-year-old without calling the police to put fear in them," he said, "you don't need to work with kids."
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In another instance of reported child cruelty, a Dollar General store clerk in Georgia was arrested in January after surveillance videos showed her whipping an 8-year-old boy with a belt.
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