When my kid has a temper tantrum, I prefer to handle it myself. Of course my kid is 2 and rarely with anyone but me, so I’m usually the only one to handle it.
When she starts school, it’ll be up to her teachers to handle any errant behavior, and I trust that they’ll do it in an appropriate manner. And if my kid’s tantrum were to turn violent, I would expect they should do what they need to do to keep themselves and the other students safe.
That’s what happened in the case of an 8-year-old second grader named Aidan in Lakewood, Co. Only the teachers felt they couldn’t even keep themselves safe from Aidan, so they called the police. And the police decided that Aidan needed a good dose of pepper spray.
A police report states he “was climbing the cart and spitting at teachers. He also broke wood trim off the walls and was trying to stab teachers with it.”
“I wanted to make something sharp if they came out because I was so mad at them,” Aidan said, according to 9 News in Denver. “I was going to try to whack them with it.”
The report also says Aidan “was holding what looked like a sharpened one foot stick and he screamed, ‘Get away from me you f—ers.’”
The police ordered him to drop the stick, and when he refused, they sprayed him with pepper spray twice and then handcuffed him after he dropped the wood. He was treated on the scene for some irritation to his face.
Aidan’s mom says she doesn’t believe the events unfolded as have been reported, that police were called to the school twice before to deal with her son and in both cases, they were able to calm him down without resorting to pepper spray and handcuffs.
“I’m sure what he was doing wasn’t right, but he’s 8 years old,” she said. “They walked in, asked him to drop the stick, and then sprayed him with the spray… I think it’s excessive.”
A spokesman for the police defended their decision, calling it “the safest option considering the circumstances. “
Aidan, who has admitted to anger management issues, has since been placed on a “mental health hold” and was transferred to a school for children with behavioral issues. His mom says he has not been diagnosed with any mental illness, nor is he on any medication.
What strikes me is that police have been called to the school twice before to deal with a second grader and his mom is acting as if this is seemingly routine? Lakewood isn’t some big, bad city where the cops are trigger-happy. I mean, I doubt any teacher relishes calling the cops and that any cop is eager to pepper spray an 8-year-old.
I feel for Aidan and his mom, but the more she’s in what appears to be denial about her son’s behavior, the bigger disservice she’s doing him, and the more likely he is to be subdued by things like pepper spray and handcuffs.
Do you think it’s ever OK to pepper spray a second grader?
Image: Wikimedia Commons