A Miami mother of a seven-year-old boy expressed outrage on Saturday when she saw her son handcuffed by police after he is said to have hit his teacher and then taken to a mental institution.
Mercy Alvarez was in tears as she saw her son leave the principal’s office at the Coral Way K-8 Center in Miami escorted by a police officer on Thursday.
The officer handcuffed the boy after school officials said he was acting up.
The incident was reported by the Miami Herald.
Alvarez has permitted the media to show her son’s face. She has also stated her desire for the media to disseminate the distressing footage of her son being led away in handcuffs.
A Miami mother of a seven-year-old boy expressed outrage on Saturday when she saw her son handcuffed by police after he is said to have hit his teacher and then taken to a mental institution
Mercy Alvarez used her cell phone on Thursday to record her son being detained by police in Miami and taken for psychiatric evaluation
‘Do not worry, my love,’ Alvarez tried to reassure her son after he was taken in handcuffs
She was angry over what she says was a disproportionately harsh response by police to a boy acting up
The boy has had a history of disciplinary problems. Last November, he was suspended for 10 days after he threw a tantrum, according to school officials
‘Do not worry, my love,’ Alvarez tried to reassure her son after he was taken in handcuffs.
She was angry over what she says was a disproportionately harsh response by police to a boy acting up.
‘This is police abuse; a whim of the officer, because my son was calm when they came to look for him,’ Alvarez said.
‘The principal, the counselor, and two other people tried to prevent that action and the officer took the child anyway.’
By state law, if a child meets certain behavioral criteria that would possibly make them a danger to himself and others, police must detain the child and subject them to psychiatric evaluation.
Alvarez used her cell phone to record video of the police detaining her son and transferring him to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
‘He does not have a mental disorder,’ said Alvarez, who works as a television and radio producer.
The chief of the Miami-Dade Schools Police said that while it is not common for seven-year-old children to be led away in handcuffs, it ‘was warranted to prevent his erratic and violent behavior from bringing further harm to others or himself.’
Alvarez and her husband, Rolando Fuentes, met with lawyers to discuss possible legal action against the Miami-Dade School District and the police
Alvarez, however, was not convinced.
She posted the video of her son’s arrest to her Facebook page.
Since her post, ‘more than 30 mothers in Miami have written to me in solidarity because their children have done the same thing.’
Alvarez and her husband, Rolando Fuentes, met with lawyers to discuss possible legal action against the Miami-Dade School District and the police.
Jackie Calzadilla, a spokesperson for the school district, said that the boy ‘began behaving erratically and hit a teacher.
‘Due to a great concern for the student and to ensure his safety and that of those around him, he was restricted according to the Baker Act and transported to the hospital to be evaluated.’
According to police, the child was supposedly playing with his food in the cafeteria, prompting teachers to remove him.
In the hallway, he then saw his teacher and ‘attacked the teacher by repeatedly punching her on her back,’ according to a school district spokesperson.
Even after the boy was restrained, he continued to throw punches and kicks, police said.
Both the boy and the person restraining him fell on the floor. Nonetheless, police said he continued to fight.
Police said the boy knocked the teacher to the ground.
The teacher who was attacked is planning to press charges against the child.
The boy’s mother, Alvarez, does not believe that her child is strong enough to knock down a teacher.
She says she wants to see video surveillance tapes of her son before she believes the police account of what happened.
The boy has had a history of disciplinary problems.
Last November, he was suspended for 10 days after he threw a tantrum, according to school officials.
His parents say that the reason for his misbehavior is that he was being bullied at school.
Alvarez accused the police of overreacting and traumatizing her son.
‘They have created a psychological trauma, and instead of fixing the problem, you are building a problem,’ she said.