Tuesday, September 2, 2014
The School to Prison Pipeline (hand-cuffing 5-year-olds)
This incident happened quite a while ago but I remember thinking something didn't feel quite right about the way the adult was interacting with this little girl. In my opinion there was a real lack of caring in the way this woman related to the child. She was definitely appeared to be more concerned with the property in the room than reaching out to communicate with this little girl. She wasn't going to touch the girl, except to remove her from the furniture to prevent injury, I assume. The voices of the people in the background also didn't reflect a sense of caring about the feelings of the child either, they seemed to be more concerned with documenting her bad behaviour and state of the papers in the room.
The cop that arrived at, least spoke to the girl as a person and by name. Unfortunately he spoke to her much the way he would any other person he would be about to arrest. If you listen carefully at around 5:23 you'll hear him say "you remember me"? "I'm the one you told your mom, put handcuffs on you." Then they cuffed her right away even though she was sitting in the chair when she saw them arrive. It seems they had a history.
The police subsequently placed her in the back of a police cruiser and tried to book her. They released her to her mother after prosecuters informed them they wouldn't bring charges against a 5-year-old.
Some kind of soothing talk might have helped.
Aw baby what's the matter? Come sit with me and lets talk about whats bothering you. Would you like a drink of water or something?
You decide for yourself if these folks appeared to be caring about this child in a way that someone feeling vulnerable, could relate to. I don't see her feeling safe with any of the reactions going on around her. So if she felt like she needed to fight to defend herself I'm not surprised. Nor am I surprised at the reaction of the authorities at the "audacity" of this child to try and defend herself.
This after all is one way of the ways in which the school to prison pipeline is perpetuated. We can't leave our children in situations where they are dependent on hostile circumstances for nurturing. We have to maintain a presence in the classroom and be much more involved in deciding what they learn. Schools will have to include people from the communities they serve, in ways that allow children to feel that they are really secure and cared for.
A more recent case involving the arrest of a 6-year-old special needs student.