Kentucky residents are going to have to pay a $337,000 settlement because a Kenton County Sheriff’s deputy handcuffed two elementary school students with disabilities in the Covington Independent Public School District in 2015.
An 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, who have both been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, were reportedly handcuffed by Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner.
Neither child was accused, arrested or charged with a crime, but were being punished for behavior.
The Kenton County Sheriff’s Office insisted that the handcuffings were a proper use of force, but Federal District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman ruled in October 2017 that the punishment was “an unconstitutional seizure and excessive force.”
The ACLU, which represented the children (along with the Children’s Law Center), notes the details of the incident:
The two plaintiffs, both of whom were children of color and both of whom have disabilities, were so small that the deputy sheriff locked the handcuffs around the children’s biceps, forcing their hands behind their backs.
One of the cuffings was recorded in a video that went viral. The footage of the little boy, identified as “S.R.,” painfully squirming and sobbing in handcuffs drew national media attention and sparked debate over the role of law enforcement officers in schools…
After the handcuffings, both children had repeated nightmares, started bed-wetting, and would not let their mothers out of their sight. Both families left the school district, and moved to areas where their children could receive the treatment and accommodations they needed.