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Handcuffing child shows fundamental problem

What does it say about our society when a 5-year-old girl must be handcuffed by police to be controlled? And, what does it say that a Florida attorney has already announced plans to sue the St. Petersburg Police for its role in the March 14 altercation at a Florida kindergarten.

This situation is disturbing on so many levels and is a sad testimony to the levels our culture has stooped. Everyone involved can share in the blame but pointing a finger doesn't really show the depth of the issue.

It started as an ordinary school day but became something far worse - all of which was caught on tape. A young girl became angry during a classroom exercise and threw a temper tantrum for the ages. The tape shows the girl ripping down bulletin boards, climbing on a table, fighting off adults and punching the assistant principal who was trying to calm the girl down.

The school contacted the child’s mother but she did not immediately come to the school. Left with little choice, the police were called. The video shows that the child calmed down when officers approached but then they pin her tiny arms behind her back and handcuff her while she screamed for them to stop.

The fact that the issue ever made it to this level shows a fundamental breakdown on several levels. Who is to blame? Everyone. School administrators should not be so afraid of a lawsuit that their hands are tied.

Educators have the obligation to every student in that class to get the situation in hand immediately for the safety of the young girl and the other students.

The police should have saved their rough tactics for the next taping of "COPS." Even the most violent of 5-year-olds is still only a child.

So that brings us to the parents and family. Most behavior problems start at home. It is highly unlikely that the child behaved perfectly at home but then acted like a demon while at school.

The mother’s claimed it was all just a personality conflict between the child and the assistant principal. That is ridiculous. A 5-year-old's insolent behavior cannot be chalked up to a personality conflict.

So as the lawsuit proceeds, it brings to light a larger question: How can teachers do their jobs if some parents aren't doing theirs?

The police handcuffs may have been around the little girl's hands, but the noose appears to be firmly around an education system in which fear dominates doing the right thing.