Recently a kindergartner threw a tantrum at a small-town Georgia school and was taken away in handcuffs. The kindergartner, Salecia Johnson, was accused of tearing items off the walls and throwing books and toys in an outburst at Creekside Elementary in Milledgeville. She also threw a small shelf and hit the principal in the leg with it. She jumped on a paper shredder and tried to break a glass frame.
When a police officer tried to calm Salecia Johnson in the principal’s office, she resisted and was handcuffed. She was charged with simple assault and damage to property. The police officer removed Salecia from the school in a police car. While everyone is debating whether the police overreacted to the situation, I think parents need more information before they decide how they would react to this situation.
While as a parent your instincts are to picture your own child in handcuffs, I’d like you to take a different perspective for a moment. Imagine that your child is sitting in the classroom with Salecia. Salecia gets upset and starts tearing items off the wall and throwing books and toys in the classroom. One of the books she throws just misses your child’s head.
The principal and an aide have to carry Salecia Johnson out of the classroom while she is kicking and screaming. Your kindergartner has witnessed the whole outburst. While this is one episode, you should realize that episodes like this occur frequently in elementary schools. Your child may be sitting in a classroom where they repeatedly witness violence and hear profanity. With the current policy of inclusion, children with significant behavioral issues and emotional disturbances are placed in mainstream classrooms with your child. Some of these children repeatedly disrupt classrooms with their out-of-control behavior.
As a parent, do you know if your child’s education is being disrupted by the behavior of other children? It seems reasonable for parents to expect that their children will be safe in their classrooms.
Rather than picturing yourself as the parent of a kindergartner in handcuffs, picture yourself as the parent of the kindergartner who nearly got hit by a book and lost an hour of instructional time because of another child’s tantrum.