In May, six-year-old Ja’Briel Weston was handcuffed and shackled at school, following an argument with another student over a chair. His parents only discovered the incident after Ja’Briel complained of a sore wrist two days later. They were then further shocked to discover it wasn’t the first time their son had been handcuffed at school as a result of misbehavior.
At Sarah T. Reed Elementary in Louisiana — a state where corporal punishment is still legally permissible in schools — handcuffs and shackles are part of the discipline plan.
This week, Ja’Briel’s parents have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all students at Sarah T. Reed in an effort to force a change in the policy that allows handcuffing of elementary children. It asks for an overhaul of the safety policies and procedures.
New Orleans is Reform Model
Also as a note of interest, the New Orleans school system has been touted by Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, as a model for education reform — though it should be noted, he was probably referring to academics and not the draconian discipline policies.
Officials Issue Denial
For the record, the Recovery School District — which is overseen by the state of Louisiana – insists that it does not condone handcuffing, although evidence points to the fact that at Sarah T. Reed, it has been commonly used.
Your Stories and Opinions
Louisiana is not the only state that still allows corporal punishment in schools, and even as late as the 1980′s, restraints and paddling were permissible in many parts of the U.S. public school system.
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photo credit: thanks to tarter time photography via flickr
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