COVINGTON, KY – A Kentucky sheriff’s deputy is the center of a federal lawsuit for handcuffing two disabled students last year.
Kenton County deputy Kevin Sumner is an elementary school resource officer. The American Civil Liberties Union says he handcuffed two kids last year, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl.
The mothers say the unrelated kids suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The lawsuit says the officer used “excessive force” when handcuffing the boy by the biceps behind his back because his wrists were too small.
The boy weighed 52 pounds.
The lawsuit says he suffers from disabilities related to ADHD and a history of trauma.
The lawsuit also names another special needs student, apparently handcuffed in the same manner by Sumner on two occasions at a different school last year.
She ended up in the hospital for a psychiatric assessment and treatment.
"There was no legitimate law enforcement purpose there,” said Rickell Howard of the Children’s Law Center. “Neither child had committed a crime. And all of their behavior was related to the specific disabilities.”
The school district issued a statement saying officers like Sumner “are not called upon by school district staff to punish or discipline students engaged in school district offenses.”
Keeping order in the classroom can be difficult, but shackling disabled kids should never be the solution.