A deputy sheriff shackled two elementary school children who have disabilities, causing them pain and trauma, according to a federal lawsuit filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Children’s Law Center, and Dinsmore & Shohl.
The children, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, were so small that the school resource officer, Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner in Covington, Kentucky, locked the handcuffs around the children’s biceps and forced their hands behind their backs, the lawsuit charges. A disturbing video shows the boy, S.R., being shackled and crying out in pain. S.R. has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a history of trauma.
The girl, L.G, was twice handcuffed behind her back by her biceps, also causing her pain. L.G. has ADHD and other special needs. Both children were being punished for behavior related to their disabilities. Neither was arrested nor charged with any criminal conduct. The lawsuit was filed on their behalf.
Nationally, students with disabilities make up 12 percent of students in public schools, but are 75 percent of the students who are physically restrained by adults in their schools, according to the U.S.Department of Education. These disciplinary practices also feed into the “school-to-prison pipeline,” where children are funneled out of public schools and into the criminal justice system. Many ofthese children have disabilities, yet instead of receiving necessary educational and counseling services, they are often punished and pushed out.