Judgment lacking in Fla. case
Children, even very young ones, can be very difficult. On occasion, parents, teachers and others supervising them have to be very strict to protect the youngsters and others around them.
But should a 6-year-old be arrested and carted off to any sort of detention by law enforcement officials?
Are you kidding?
Sadly, no. Last week, The Associated Press reported what happened to Kaia Rolle, 6, of Orlando, Florida. She allegedly kicked and punched staff members at her school.
Someone called the police. Indeed, a brief, careful conversation with an officer might have brought home to the girl that her behavior was seriously inappropriate. But that isn’t what happened.
Officer Dennis Turner arrested Kaia. According to the AP, Turner and another officer treated her much as they would have an adult assault suspect. Turner placed a plastic zip-tie around her wrists. Kaia began crying, as shown in one officer’s body camera video.
“Help me. Help me, please!” the little girl begged to onlookers. “Please, give me a second chance.”
Then, she is placed in a police cruiser and taken away.
School administrators “appear dismayed” by what happened, according to the AP. Turner tells them Kaia is not the first young child he has arrested.
Later, charges against Kaia and the other child were dismissed. Turner was fired. Orlando’s police chief said Turner failed to comply with a policy requiring approval of a watch commander to arrest someone under 12.
Clearly, that is a good policy.
Turner certainly appears to be the villain of this piece, but it needs to be noted his intentions may have been good. He may have believed a severe shock would correct the girl’s behavior.
He went way, way too far, of course.
Reports such as this pop up on a fairly regular — though rare — basis. They are a reminder that law enforcement agencies and school systems need to have appropriate policies in place to handle misbehaving children in age-appropriate ways.
Those without the good judgment to do that have no business working with children.