A group of activists, parents, and politicians gathered Thursday to demand an end to handcuffing students with behavior problems, the Spanish-language daily reports.
City Council member Charles Barron told the media that Department of Education officials need to implement disciplinary alternatives and handle students without treating them like prisoners.
“The Department of Education must stop this cruel and emotionally traumatizing practice — of handcuffing children,” he told El Diario.”They have to find non-aggressive ways to handle students, from intervention to counseling.”
Assemblywoman Inez Barron said that she plans on proposing a bill next week that would make it illegal to handcuff children.
“Special situations involving minor children shouldn’t be left in the hands of police — rather, they should be handled by specialists,” she told the newspaper. “Sadly, Latino and black students are most effected by these policies.”
Handcuffing students originally gained attention — and subsequently generated outcry — April 13. Then, a 7 year-old special education student in Queens was reportedly handcuffed and brought to a hospital after becoming angry in art class.
Councilman Barron told the newspaper that the child is “living in a nightmare. He doesn’t sleep, and is afraid of ambulances and sirens. He’s totally traumatized.”
Shakima Holman, who has a 14-year-old, said that her child was handcuffed in school two years ago — without any reason.
“Nobody told me what happened,” she told the newspaper. “We send our kids to school to study, not to be treated like criminals.”
The Department of Education did not return calls for comment, the paper reports.