A Georgia cop who handcuffed a tantruming kindergartner is in the middle of a hailstorm of criticism this week. So I'm going to do this poor guy a favor. I'm not going to add to it.
That's right. I'm the mother of a girl who is the same age as little Salecia Johnson was when she pitched a hissy in the middle of the classroom at her elementary school in Milledgeville, Georgia last week. And I know what kind of damage a pissed off 6-year-old can do. I also know what it takes to calm a pissed off 6-year-old down. Handcuffing doesn't sound that far off the mark.
The thing is, according to the reports, Salecia was tearing things off the walls in her classroom. She was throwing furniture. She ripped a shelf off the wall of the principal's office, and it injured the administrator.
This was not some pouting toddler. This was a full on, s--t has hit the fan blowout.
And I can picture how it went down because I've been there. My 6-year-old went through a "I'm going to throw fits" phase -- although never in public (thank heavens for small mercies). She was testing her boundaries, and as responsible parents, we laid down the law. The phase ended, and we've moved on.
But I still remember how we had to calm her. We would sit, holding her in the safety of our arms, while she worked out her frustrations. Now imagine a grown man, a stranger, doing that to a 6-year-old girl. He'd be facing more than criticism today. People would be calling him a pedophile and accusing him of molesting the little girl.
Yes, he's a cop. But in this society, grown men do not hold little girls close to their bodies without some sort of repercussions. So what else is a cop to do when he walks into a classroom and finds a child wreaking such havoc?
Talking to them doesn't work if it falls on deaf ears -- which is what is said to have happened with Salecia. And walking out of the room, just letting her continue to destroy the place, isn't an option. At best she would learn that this type of atrocious behavior is acceptable. At worst, she would continue to hurt other people and/or possibly hurt herself.
So what does that leave? Handcuffs. It's not a great option. In fact, it downright sucks that he was put in that position. But on a scale from one to TASER, I think it's probably the best that can be done in a bad situation.
As the mother of a 6-year-old, I don't want to think of my child ever being put in handcuffs. But then, I don't ever want my child tearing things off the classroom walls, throwing furniture, or ripping a shelf off the wall in the principal's office. If my kid was being cuffed for behavior that atrocious, I don't think I'd be taking the story to the media. I'd be asking myself how the heck my kid got that out of control.
What do you think the officer should have done in this situation?
Image via daquella manera/Flickr