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Mother Outraged After Police Put 5-Year-Old Special Needs Son In Handcuffs, Shackles

A New York mother is outraged after being told her 5-year-old son was handcuffed by police because the child was “out of control” and "combative.”

Police were called to the elementary school in Philadelphia, New York, after staff reported special needs student Connor Ruiz was misbehaving, according to The Guardian.

When officers arrived at the scene, they placed the boy in handcuffs and put his feet into shackles. They then took Connor to a medical center for evaluation, the Watertown Daily Times reported.

Authorities contacted the boy’s mother, Chelsea Ruiz, who was shocked by the news.

“An officer told me they had to handcuff his wrists and his ankles for their safety,” Ruiz told the local newspaper. “I told him that was ridiculous. How could someone fear for their safety when it comes to a small, 5-year-old child?”

But Trooper Jack Keller, a spokesman for the state police force, defended the officers’ actions, stating that the boy posed a risk to both himself and others, the Watertown Daily Times noted. Keller added that officers found the child “screaming, kicking, punching and biting.”

“Our concern was his safety, of not only himself but the staff he was dealing with and the other students in the class where he was,” Keller said.

Ruiz said she placed her son in a special needs class specifically to avoid this kind of incident.

“We had a plan in place so they would call me to come to the school if they couldn’t calm him down,” Ruiz explained. “And they didn’t do that.”

The story was posted on Reddit where many users debated if the officers used excessive force.

Supergeek133 wrote:

So let's assume it's true, and he was being a danger to himself and others. What else are the cops supposed to do? Hold him down? Sit on him? Everyone take a limb and hold him? Tie him to a tree? What is nicer and more appropriate than just putting cuffs and shackles on him? What WON'T make Reddit think cops are abusing their power.

What if they tried to talk to him and he ends up hurting another child OR himself seriously? This story would be ‘why didn't they do more’ then.

There are some mentally disturbed children and adults in this world. Not all can be solved by 'talking nice' to them.

Another user, imjustanother, agreed but added:

Very true but, the mother and the school had a plan in place to deal with the situation, which the school did not follow. Also, our current school system configured for one thing, and one thing only, 'pass tests', that's it. That's all they care about. There are probably a hundred ways this could have been handled better all the way down to treating kids like individuals and not lemmings.

Ruiz said Connor “was terrified of going back to school.” She said she planned on transferring the boy to a different school district.

Sources: The Guardian, Watertown Daily Times, Reddit

Photo Credit: Norm Johnston/Watertown Daily Times, D.F. Shapinsky (pingnews)/Flickr


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