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WATERTOWN, N.Y. – A mother in New York is demanding answers after her 5-year-old special needs son ended up handcuffed and in a police car.
“I’m sickened by what happened. I don’t understand, I can’t understand for the life of me why they felt the need to handcuff a 5-year-old,” said Chelsea Ruiz.
State police received a 911 call from Philadelphia Primary last Wednesday about an out-of-control student.
When the first trooper got to the special needs classroom, he saw 5-year-old Connor surrounded by knocked-over desks and bookshelves.
He said the child was flailing his arms, biting and screaming.
Police even received reports from teachers that he was trying to stab himself with a pencil.
“The best way to prevent this child from injuring himself or causing any type of injury or threat to other students or staff, was to physically restrain him in handcuffs and leg shackles,” said Capt. Darrin Platkin, with the police department.
Troopers took Connor to a local medical center, where he was examined and released.
Ruiz says her son had already been diagnosed with a number of mental health issues, including separation anxiety.
She says he has the mental capacity of a 3-year-old and was on medication.
She thinks the school should have called her first, which is in accordance with a plan that was put in place a week before the incident.
“He did the same thing, same exact thing. They called me, I came to the school, he calmed down immediately,” she said.
The school’s superintendent simply said, “We and the police did everything we could to ensure that child’s safety.”
“Biggest misconception that people have is you look at, ‘Okay, it’s a 5-year-old.’ But anybody can cause injury to anybody else,” said Capt. Platkin.
Chelsea Ruiz is asking for a full investigation into the incident involving her son.
She also wants the school to provide a home teacher for Connor.