Family Files Lawsuit After Police Handcuff 9-Year-Old Child at School
According to KSLA 12 News the family of a 9-year-old boy has initiated legal action against the City of Oviedo, Florida, and the police officers involved after their child was handcuffed at Stenstrom Elementary School.
The incident, which occurred on February 2, has ignited controversy and raised important questions about handling students with special needs now that the body cam footage has been released to the public.
According to the family's lawsuit, the student's Individual Education Plan specified a particular approach when dealing with his aggression: staff should "not engage in any conversation other than having him complete the task" and should limit the attention directed towards him. This plan was designed to address the child's behavioral issues effectively.
Video evidence reveals that the child was handcuffed for approximately 13 minutes before the restraints were removed. The family contends that this action violated their son's Individual Education Plan and caused extreme harm, exacerbating his pre-existing condition.
Remarkably, the family has not included the school district in their lawsuit. Instead, their legal action is targeted solely at the City of Oviedo and the officers involved in the incident. Among the damages claimed by the family is the assertion that their son suffered significant emotional distress. The family's attorney released the following statement.
Nine-year-old children should not be handcuffed by police officers at school. The City of Oviedo has failed to reach out to the family to make any effort to address this unfortunate situation. It was not my clients' preference to initiate litigation, but the city's failure to investigate this incident and the officers involved left them no alternative
The Oviedo Police Department has refrained from making public statements or conducting interviews due to the ongoing litigation.
As legal proceedings continue, parents, educators, and advocates are closely monitoring this case, hoping that it will lead to improvements in how schools and law enforcement agencies handle similar situations involving students with behavioral challenges.
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Gallery Credit: Sydney DuCharme