School Handcuffs, Commits 6-Year-Old Girl to Mental Institution

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

When school officials in Florida had enough of a 6-year-old girl's temper tantrums -- days after another disruption -- they handcuffed and committed her to a mental institution. Her parents are outraged, to say the least.

According to the police report, Haley Shalansky got upset Monday when her teacher at Parkway Elementary in Port St. Lucie asked her to do something. She stormed out of the classroom and wound up in the principal's office.

There, the report said she flew out of control. She "kicked the wall, went over to the desk and threw the calculator, electric pencil sharpener, telephone, container of writing utensils and other objects across the desk." That's when, according to reports, police were called and the girl was handcuffed by a deputy.

"She couldn't put her in two handcuffs because her wrists are that small, so she put them both in the same handcuff and left marks on my daughter's arms," The girl's father, Mickey Shalansky told WPBF 25. "I don't think it should have had to come to this -- you know, to put a little girl, 6 years old, 37 pounds in handcuffs and take her away in a police car."

Things got worse the next day, when Haley had another tantrum in class and the principal's office. The police report said she threw things and hit the principal, who is 8 months pregnant. This time, though, there were no handcuffs -- she was sent to a mental facility.

"I was terrified," Haley's mother, Kathy Franklin said. "I left work crying, terrified. Where is my baby? What are they doing with my baby?" 

Haley's parents admit the girl has temper issues but no history of mental illness. "They have looked at her here," Franklin said of the New Horizons mental health facility. "There is absolutely nothing wrong with my child. I work in daycare. I know what a child that has problems -- you know, I know how to deal with them. I know what they act like."

While the parents say it was wrong to send Haley to a mental institution, the police report said the school has contacted Haley's parents several times about setting up a meeting to discuss her behavior, but they have never shown up.

Franklin said she was supposed to meet with school officials Tuesday but had to cancel because she had car problems.

Meanwhile, her parents have kept Haley and her sister home from school.