Girl, 6, Handcuffed, Committed Because Of Classroom Behavior
Parents Call Measures Extreme, But Sheriff's Office Report Says Daughter Out Of Control
POSTED: 5:42 pm EST February 10, 2010
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A Port St. Lucie first-grade student was handcuffed and committed to a mental health facility because of her classroom behavior, and her parents are furious that the school took such extreme measures.
Mickey Shalansky explained Wednesday what he said happened to his 6-year-old daughter at Parkway Elementary.
"She couldn't put her in two handcuffs because her wrists are that small, so she put them both in the same handcuff and left marks on my daughter's arms," Shalansky told WPBF 25 News' Bob Kaple.
But a St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office report paints a much different picture.
Deputies said his daughter, Haley, got upset and stormed out her classroom when her teacher asked her to do something. The report said it then escalated into a temper tantrum in the principal's office.
According to the incident report, a deputy said Haley was out of control. It said she "kicked the wall, went over to the desk and threw the calculator, electric pencil sharpener, telephone, container of writing utensils and other objects across the desk."
She was then handcuffed.
"I don't think it should have had to come to this -- you know, to put a little girl, 6 years old, 37 pounds in handcuffs and take her away in a police car," Shalansky said.
Even worse is what happened the next day, Haley's parents said.
A deputy was called to the school again after Haley had another tantrum in the classroom and principal's office.
The sheriff's report said she was yelling, throwing things and hit the principal, who is eight months pregnant. This time, she wasn't handcuffed. She was committed to a mental facility.
"I was terrified," mother Kathy Franklin said. "I left work crying, terrified. Where is my baby? What are they doing with my baby?"
Haley's parents said their daughter has a temper problem, but has no history of mental illness. Her mother said the school should have called her so she could pick up her daughter rather than have her committed.
"They have looked at her here," Franklin said of the New Horizons mental health facility. "There is absolutely nothing wrong with my child. I work in daycare. I know what a child that has problems -- you know, I know how to deal with them. I know what they act like."
Shalansky said to have his daughter committed is "just wrong."
The report also said the school has contacted Haley's parents several times about setting up a meeting to discuss her behavior, but they have never shown up.
Franklin said she was supposed to meet with school officials Tuesday but had to cancel because she had car problems.
Meanwhile, her parents have kept Haley and her sister home from school.