Mother left with questions after daughter, 6, handcuffed by police at Mississauga school
A mother is left with many unanswered questions after her six-year-old daughter was handcuffed by police at her Mississauga school.
The incident took place inside Nahani Way Public School in the area of Kennedy Road and Eglinton Avenue East around the end of September 2016.
The school described the girl’s behavior as violent and said they contacted Peel Regional Police to deescalate the situation.
Upon the arrival of two male officers, the child was handcuffed at her ankles and wrists.
According to the officers, the young child was kicking, screaming and punching.
“We usually use handcuffs when we are dealing with people who are violent, acting out,” the family’s lawyer Donardo Jones told CTV News Toronto. “But, the idea that a six-year-old would do something… that could be perceived as needing that level of restrain, arms and legs, just baffles me.”
On the day of the incident, the child’s mother said she received three missed phone calls from the school before calling them back while she was at work.
The mother told CTV News Toronto that one of the police officers took the phone from the school to speak to her and told her that they had to handcuff her daughter.
“All that ran through my mind was getting to my daughter,” the mother said. “They didn’t tell me anything else. I left work, took a taxi and went straight to the school. When I got there she wasn’t handcuffed. She was just sitting calmly as if nothing happened and everyone was just standing around looking at her.”
According to her mother and Jones, the child has been greatly affected by this incident.
The mother said that her daughter has not admitted that the situation took place as she is trying to block it out.
“She was exhibiting fear towards police,” she said. “A little bit after the incident we were driving and (the police) had someone pulled over and she said ‘mommy, mommy, drive slow, don’t look, don’t look, they’re going to arrest you.'”
Police told CTV News Toronto that this was the third time they were called to the school to deal with this child in particular.
According to the officers, they used their discretion to decide that handcuffing her was necessary to prevent her from harming others and herself.
“In regards to the kicking and the punching and the violent actions, they had to restrain her to ensure everyone was safe,” Peel Regional Police said.
The mother has brought in the African-Canadian Legal Clinic to file numerous complaints against the school board and police, including human rights complaints.
Jones said that if she was not an African-Canadian child he does not believe this incident would have taken place.
Both the mother and her lawyer said that this behavior is a rarity for this young girl.
“This type of behavior that the school described didn’t exist anywhere outside of the school, not at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, not at church, not at home and not at the new school that she is attending right now,” Jones said.
The child’s mother said that she kept her daughter home for weeks after the incident took place.
The mother eventually decided to switch her daughter to a new school where she says she is doing very well.
The legal clinic said they are looking for an apology and further answers.
Police said they are still reviewing the incident.