Sheriff: Four-Year-Old Was Handcuffed for Safety Precautions

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December 10, 2014

Parents in Greene County are still stunned by the reports of a four-year-old being restrained in handcuffs at Nathanael Greene Primary School nearly two months ago.

According to Sheriff Steve Smith of Greene County, the boy was throwing toys, jumping off of furniture and onto students as well as hitting teachers in his pre-k classroom.

“Teachers tried to get him to calm down, to restrain him and they tried all of the quiet methods they use,” says Sheriff Smith. “He got out of control, kicking biting punching.”

Teachers then had to call in a school resource officer from the sheriff's department to help with the situation.

“It's a boy that the deputy had dealt with before and he was usually able to talk to him, to calm him down, but this time he wasn’t successful,” says Sheriff Smith.

Sheriff Smith says the deputy tried to talk to the boy and used a bear hug to get him to calm down, but that did not work.

“For the student's own safety and the safety of the other students and the teachers he had to put handcuffs on him to restrain him.”

The boy was then taken to the sheriff's department where he was picked up by his mother.

Greene County School Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh says when a school resource officer gets involved they use their own judgment to determine what kind of intervention is necessary.

One Greene County parent says the deputy should have handled it better.

“They could've called the parent, got the parent there, put him in a room by himself, took him away from the other students, but that scared that child. I'm an adult and I'm afraid to be in handcuff,” says Tamera Sheler.

“He was not arrested,” says Sheriff Smith. “Yes he was handcuffed, but he was being restrained for his own safety and for the safety of the rest of the kids.”

Sheriff Smith plans on being at the Greene County School Board meeting on Wednesday night at 7PM to answer questions from parents.

The mother of the child who was restrained never commented after several attempts to reach her.

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