A 7-year-old Dallas boy was allegedly handcuffed by police at school on May 9, and then taken away to a psychiatric hospital.
According to his mother, April Odis, the young student had a violent outburst and was banging his head against the wall when police were called, reports KTVT. He was then placed in a behavioral health facility without his family being notified.
"When I got there, I said, 'Where's my baby?'" Odis explained to KXAS. She said a school employee told her: "Oh, he's not here. He was acting out, he was saying the absurdities, so he's gone."
Odis says her son has ADHD, which causes him to disrupt class several times a week. His outbursts are allegedly triggered by teasing from other children. There are trained counselors available to help him cope, she added. "He was denied his safe place," his mother said. "I feel cheated and my son feels cheated."
ADHD -- the abbreviation for Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder -- is defined by the National Institutes of Mental Health as "a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development."
The agency's website also explains the symptoms: "Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Most children have the combined type of ADHD."
The boy's family shared photos showing what they claim are bruises from a police officer's nightstick on the boy's legs, and marks on his back from where he was allegedly hit with a stun gun.
David Ramirez, an investigator hired by the family's attorneys, said the boy was taken to a Dallas behavioral hospital, where he was sedated and not released for five days. According to the hospital's website, the facility provides "psychiatric stabilization and dual diagnosis treatments for adolescent and adult patients."
The school district released a statement on May 15:
The Dallas Independent School District is committed to educating the whole child each day, and in doing so, we believe in providing a productive learning environment that is safe for all staff and students. While there has been media interest into an alleged incident at one of our Dallas ISD campuses, due to federal confidentiality laws protecting the privacy of all students and their families, we are unable to publicly confirm or deny the matter reported. We stand by our commitment to serve all students and to ensure their health and safety are never compromised as we focus on student achievement.