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Georgia Elementary School Student Arrested
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Police and school officials in Georgia have upset the family of a 6-year-old girl who had to be handcuffed and transported to a police station after she threw furniture, tore things off the walls and knocked down a shelf. When she knocked down the shelf she injured the principal.

“A 6-year-old in kindergarten?” Earnest Johnson, the father of Salecia Johnson, said. “They have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child.”

  
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The incident occurred on Friday at the Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, Georgia. Police officers have defended what they did.

“Our policy states that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that rule,” Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord said.

Earlier this week, the family asked the city to change the policy regarding handcuffing those being transported to the station. They also said that the girl was scared and shaken up while in police custody at their department. The officer who responded to the call at the school wrote the following in his incident report:

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“I noticed damage to school property and possible assault of other students and staff. I made six attempts to contact her mother via telephone. I attempted to calm Johnson down. Johnson then pulled away and began actively resisting and fighting with me.”

Dianne Popp, who is the principal, explained in the police report that, “a small shelf struck her in the leg while Johnson was throwing items at her.” The report also said that Johnson “tried several times to get out of the office. Johnson was observed biting the door knob of the office and jumping on the paper shredder and attempted to break a glass frame above the shredder.”



The girl was charged with assault and damage to property but does not have to appear in court because of her age. Constance Ruff, the daughter of Johnson, said that Johnson has been suspended until the next school year begins.

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

Johnson’s behavior was described as ‘violent and disruptive,’ by Geneva Braziel, the superintendent. Candace Ruff, the aunt of Johnson, said, “She might have misbehaved, but I don’t think she actually misbehaved to the point that she should have been handcuffed and taken downtown to the police department.”

“Call the police? Is that the first step? Or is there any other kind of intervention that can be taken to help that child,” she asked. “She said they were really tight. She said they really hurt her wrists. She was so shaken up when we went there to pick her up.”

The family also claims that she was in a holding cell, which has been denied by the police department. The department says the girl was placed in the squad room.



 

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