A Denver dad is speaking out after an incident in which his 7-year-old son was handcuffed after fighting with a classmate at school, local news outlet 9News reports.
The skirmish between the elementary school students took place at Denver’s Florida Pitt Waller School on April 19. Pryor says security officers at the school restrained the boy before calling his father.
“They were grabbing him and pulling him,” Brandon Pryor said. “He used his dead weight to sit down and just sat there. Then they jerked him back off of the ground and physically drug him by his arm to a classroom where they put handcuffs on him.
“There’s never a reason for a 7-year-old to be placed in handcuffs and criminalized basically for getting into a schoolyard fight,” he continued. “I was just outraged. I couldn’t believe that the people who have been put to the task of protecting our children are actually hurting and harming our children.”
Pryor was quick to raise the alarm over the situation, posting a video about the incident the very same day. In it, he claims that he was met at the door of the elementary school by police officers, who refused him entry.
“My son is 7 years old,” he says in the video. “Young black male ... already has experience being put in handcuffs.”
The video drew the attention of the Denver School Board, which asked for a report on the use of restraints at school. The report found that 58 students were handcuffed by Denver Public School safety employees from 2017 to 2019.
Pryor said he wasn’t surprised by that large number. Now, school board members are reviewing the policy on restraints and officer training.
“I have an incredibly difficult time imagining any scenario where any young person would be put in handcuffs,” school board president Anne Rowe said during a meeting on Monday. “And I also struggle deeply with the impact on that young person in the trauma and the going forward thinking about their future.”
Ana Alejo, chief communications officer for Denver Public Schools, told 9News in a statement that handcuffs can be used “only as a last resort” and if there is “imminent danger.”
Pryor’s son isn’t the first youngster to be handcuffed. Last July a Michigan mom filed a lawsuit after her 7-year-old son was handcuffed during an after-school program. And in January of that year another 7-year-old boy in Miami was cuffed after allegedly attacking his teacher.
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