Parents in Philadelphia, New York, are upset after state troopers handcuffed and shackled a 5-year-old boy who was acting out at school. Connor C. Ruiz, who had previously been diagnosed with a number of behavioral issues, was restrained at Philadelphia Primary School last week and taken to a local medical center for a mental-health evaluation.
Ruiz was reportedly “screaming, kicking, punching and biting” when officers arrived at the special-needs class, and attempts by staff to calm him down weren’t working.
“An officer told me they had to handcuff his wrists and ankles for their safety,” Ruiz’s mother Chelsea told the Watertown Daily Times. “I told him that was ridiculous. How could someone fear for their safety when it comes to a small, 5-year-old child? He said that he understood because he had four children of his own.”
Ruiz’s case comes at a time when police in New York are being retrained to calmly talk suspects into handcuffs instead of using physical force. Still, that training doesn’t typically apply to 5-year-olds.