Out-of-Control 5-Year-Old Faces Charge of Assaulting a Police Officer

legoIf you told me before I became a parent that one day I'd be supporting the arrest of a 5-year-old for assaulting a police officer, I would have laughed in your face and made one of those outlandish bets wherein I'd give up my entire house and the contents if I were to somehow lose. "Five," I would have said, "is too young to be a real threat to anyone. That's just police brutality."

And yet, here I sit, with a 6 1/2-year-old daughter currently in school and the feeling that a California cop who handcuffed 5-year-old Michael Davis with zip ties around his wrists and ankles was likely justified in his actions. I say likely because the case is still under investigation and you just never know what will be uncovered. But on the face of it, well, what would you do with a child who was known to throw chairs around his kindergarten classroom?

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The cop, a school resource officer named Lt. Frank Gordo, was sent in to speak with Michael one-on-one about his inappropriate classroom behavior in the hopes that the child -- who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- would be scared straight by the intervention of a police officer. But Gordo said the whole incident went from bad to worse with Michael batting at the officer's hands, shoving papers off the desk, then kicking him in the knee. The officer says Michael refused to calm down from there, forcing him to cuff him and haul him off in a squad car to a psychiatric institution (not jail) for an evaluation. The boy has now been charged with battery for allegedly assaulting Gordo.

I admit there's part of me that continues to scream, "But he was just 5!" And the violence the words "zip ties" brings to mind makes me want to cry.

But then there's the rest of me that imagines my own daughter in that classroom, in the path of a chair being hurled by this little boy or at the other end of his flailing fists. And suddenly I'm not so ready to forgive this child. Even young kids can do serious damage to their classmates and school staff.

I know from experience: volunteering in a fourth grade classroom to fulfill a requirement for seniors at my high school, I was punched by a student. I saw stars. That year while working in that room, I saw him hoist furniture. I saw him once be carted down the hallway to the principal's office while still IN his chair because he refused to move. His face filled with fury, he gripped tightly to the seat as an adult carefully walked kid and seat down the hallway.

Not only did I see all that go down, but so did his classmates that year. And as much as I understand his right to an education, I always wondered: didn't those other kids have a right to a safe place to learn? Now that I'm a mother, it's something I've considered even more deeply.

Don't Michael Davis' classmates deserve a classroom free from flying chairs and bursts of violence?

Short of this arrest, I don't know how else this really could be addressed. After all, he is just 5, and already he's a significant threat to other people. If something isn't done to address it now, I can't imagine what kind of horror could happen next.

Mentally put your child in this boy's classroom and ask yourself: would you want him running roughshod over the adults?

 

Image via lydiashiningbrightly/Flickr

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