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Fifth-grader handcuffed, arrested

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

A 10-year-old boy was arrested and taken from his elementary school classroom in handcuffs Wednesday after allegedly striking and throwing pencils at a vice principal.

The child, whose name is being withheld by the Cape Coral Daily Breeze due to his age, was charged with felony battery of an education employee and interfering with school administration functions after an alleged outburst in a Skyline Elementary classroom.

Police were called after school officials say they could not stop the boy’s behavior, which was described as disruptive. When police also could not get the child to comply with verbal requests, the boy was cuffed, charged and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center in Fort Myers, a police report states.

According to that report, Assistant Principal Dr. Kenneth Best was “over top (the child) restraining him, while holding one arm,” when school resource officer Marlea Major entered the classroom at about 10 a.m.

“(The child) was struggling and screaming at Dr. Best and he kept on telling him to settle down, in which he refused to comply,” Major reported.

Best told officers the child, who stands 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 85 pounds, according to police reports, was disrupting his fifth-grade class and would not stop yelling when Best entered the classroom to remove him.

Best said the child flailed at him, hitting him in the chest, and threw a pencil at him. The pencil missed and hit a female student in the head, sticking in her hair, according to the report.

The child then allegedly threw another pencil close to Best’s face.

The child refused to comply with Best’s verbal attempts to calm him, at which point Best dismissed other students from the classroom and restrained the boy, reports state.

Police say they could not get the child to comply when the school resource officer arrived. Major said she handcuffed and double-locked the child, and placed him under arrest. He was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center on a combined $2,000 bond, reports state.

The child was released from JAC Wednesday afternoon, according to jail booking records.

The child’s mother said the situation was handled inappropriately.

“School officials should not put their hands on a child for any reason,” said the boy’s mother, who declined further comment.

The Lee County School District declined comment on the incident.

“The law doesn’t allow me to confirm or deny anything that involves a student,” said school district spokesperson Joseph Donzelli. “Because of privacy laws, the district can’t provide a comment.”

City spokesperson Connie Barron said the child was handcuffed and arrested based on Major’s judgement in the incident.

“Officers have to take whatever action that they deem appropriate and reasonable based on the facts that are presented to them at the time of the incident,” Barron said. “The officer took the action that she thought was appropriate and reasonable.”

Best was not injured, but has requested to press charges as a result of the incident, according to the report.

Best reportedly said his “purpose is an attempt to get help for (the child) who” has had “numerous aggressive incidents in the past … “

The parents of the child who was struck by a pencil, who also was uninjured, did not wish press charges, reports state.

The child will be required to appear in juvenile court next month, according to jail records.