Georgia kindergartener handcuffed during tantrum

A six-year-old Georgia kindergartener was handcuffed by police after throwing a tantrum in the principal's office of her elementary school. Her parents demanded an explanation, but the local police chief defended the decision.

WMAZ-13 TV/AP
Salecia Johnson, a six-year-old Georgia kindergartener, was handcuffed by police after throwing a tantrum in the principal's office of her elementary school. Her parents demand an explanation, but the local police chief defended the decision.

Police in Georgia handcuffed a kindergartner after the girl threw a tantrum, and the police chief defended the action.

The girl's family demanded Tuesday that this central Georgia city change policy so that other children aren't treated the same way. They say the child was shaken up by being put in a cell at the police station.

Salecia Johnson, 6, was accused of tearing items off the walls and throwing furniture in an outburst Friday at Creekside Elementary School, Macon television station WMAZ-TV reported. Police said the girl knocked over a shelf that injured the principal.

The school called police. The police report says when an officer tried to calm the child in the principal's office, she resisted and was handcuffed. The girl was charged with simple assault and damage to property.

Police Chief Dray Swicord says the department's policy is to handcuff people in certain situations.

"Our policy states that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back and there is no age discrimination on that rule," Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord told WMAZ.

The girl's aunt, Candace Ruff, went with the child's mother to pick her up from the police station. She said Salecia was by herself in a holding cell and complained about the handcuffs.

"She said they were really tight. She said they really hurt her wrists," Ms. Ruff told The Associated Press. "She was so shaken up when we went there to pick her up."

Officials at Creekside Elementary did not immediately return calls Tuesday.

"We would not like to see this happen to another child, because it's horrifying. It's devastating," Ruff said.

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