Police Arrest 8-Year-Old Girl For Temper Tantrum

This past Tuesday, police in Alton, Illinois handcuffed and arrested 8-year-old Jmyha Rickman for allegedly throwing a tantrum. While psychiatrists are proposing that temper tantrums should be labeled a new psychiatric disorder, a tantrum hardly seems like a good reason for law enforcement to show up at an elementary school and handcuff the hands and feet of a young child and detain her in the back of a police car.

Jmyha allegedly became upset on Tuesday after she was told that she could not use the restroom. As Jmyha’s uncle, Nehemiah Keeton, tells KMOV, her school, LoveJoy Elementary School, had previously contacted him when such had occurred and requested that he pick her up. On Tuesday, he was on his way to the school to do so and had informed school officials that he was en route.

But Alton police said that the school had contacted them and that Jmyha had been “out of control” and “tearing up” two classrooms when they arrived.

School officials from Alton are standing by their decision to call in the police. “As a last resort we sometimes have to involve law enforcement,” Alton Schools Assistant Superintendent Kristi Baumgartner says to news station KMOV. She also says that police “take the student into protective custody when the parent refuses to pick up the child.”

Alton Schools Went Too Far In Contacting the Police About Jmyha

As a result of all she has been through, Jmyha is now afraid to return to school, says Keeton. As he tells KMOV: “I feel like if you can’t handle an 8-year-old without calling the police, to put fear in them like my child, you don’t need to work with kids.”

As Jmyha’s family notes, the 8-year-old has “dealt with anxiety problems and separation anxiety.” Keeton had been contacted before by the school to pick her up after teachers “held her down” — that is, even before the handcuffing and arrest of Jmyha on Tuesday, LoveJoy Elementary School was already not addressing her needs in an appropriate fashion. Physically restraining a child is not a practice that should be done without the consent of a child’s parents. Even more, physical restraint should only be considered as a possible procedure after analyzing why a child might be having behavioral issues and after implementing educational strategies.

Jmyha’s arrest by law enforcement, at her own elementary school, reflects a disturbing pattern in how some U.S. schools have been addressing challenging behaviors in students who are minorities. Last April, another African-American child, 6-year-old Salecia Johnson, was handcuffed and arrested for a temper tantrum, The Root points out. In December, the New York Police Department handcuffed and held a 7-year-old boy, Wilson Reyes, for hours after his school contacted law enforcement regarding a missing $5.

The words of Jmyha’s uncle, Keeton, resonate. A school district that has come to rely on police to deal with its students is one that does not know how to teach them and that does not seem to have the best interests of children in mind.


Related Care2 Coverage

NYPD Handcuff 7-Year-Old Boy Over Missing $5

Temper Tantrums Are a New Psychiatric Disorder?

5 Outrageous School Punishments That Should Not Happen

Why Is Spanking At School Still Legal In 19 States?


Photo from Thinkstock


Magdalen B.
Magdalen B4 years ago

It's the other kids I feel sorry for.

Biby C.
Biby C4 years ago

I think it all boils down to the overly strict laws on child abuse. Parents are paranoid about being labeled child abusers and children get away with way too much. I'm not saying children should be abused but there is nothing wrong with the way we were brought up, being given some form of physical punishment when it's due.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill4 years ago

What is this country coming to when children are so far out of control that no one can control their temper tantrums?

Tammy Baxter
Tammy B4 years ago

What kind of school calls the police over a temper tantrum? out of all of the teacher in the school, there wasn't one who could help the kid? these are the people we trust our children with?

Christine VanderWal
Christine V4 years ago

police have gone too far. poor kid.

Nicole Maurone
Nicole Maurone4 years ago

Hello of course treating children like criminals is wrong an eight yr old? really? Anyway I need some help will you guys please like this picture !!! It is for a baby Easter contest it ends tm I would really appreciate everyone who does ! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=382764705154480&set=a.382764648487819.1073741905.285140341583584&type=3&theater

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush4 years ago

To Robin S.: I'm sorry to disagree with you, but, I believe teachers would handle most unpleasant situations, if it wasn't for an interfering parent.
SUE, SUE, SUE! That's what parents want to do, when their poor little 'baby' was smacked on the butt. Mind you, I'm not recommending physical punishment, because some adults can get out of hand, which has happened. However, taking this kid by the arm and removing him/her from the classroom, should not bring in the family's attorney.
It is, in fact, the parents that have poked their noses into everything that goes on in and out of the classroom.

I'm not against 'soccer moms', but _some_ of them need to GET A LIFE and discontinue walking the school halls every day, trying to get preferential treatment for their little 'sweetheart'.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush4 years ago

They should have arrested her parents.
No matter how you rationalize the problem, the parents are at the center of the problem. If the child has a mental problem, she should be seeing a therapist. If she simply, has an anger problem and lacks the tools to handle it, the parents need to be held accountable.

Having a child should not be entered into, without serious consideration of the problems that may occur. I'm not suggesting that everyone has the ability to think clearly, before having sex, but continuing with the pregnancy can be thought through.
This whole situation revolves around EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION.
This is most always the answer.

Berty Jardine
Berty Jardine4 years ago

An out of controle 8 year old can be a very scary thing to see!

Maria Barbosa
María Barbosa4 years ago