Police handcuff, shackle 5-year-old special-needs student

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WATERTOWN, NY - Five-year-old Connor Ruiz isn't a criminal, but his mother says he was treated like one at school, when he was handcuffed, shackled and put into the back of a police car. Needless to say, she is furious.

"I'm sickened by what happened," said Chelsea Ruiz, "I can't understand for the life of me why they felt the need to handcuff a five-year-old."

Connor is a special-needs child suffering from a number of mental health issues, including separation anxiety. State police say they received a 9-1-1 call from his school, and they arrived to find Connor surrounded by overturned desks and bookshelves, flailing his arms, biting and screaming. Teachers reportedly said he was trying to stab himself with a pencil.

"The best way to prevent this child from injuring himself or causing any type of injury or threat to other students or staff, was to physically restrain him in handcuffs and leg shackles," said Capt. Darrin Platkin.

Sounds extreme for a five-year-old, but troopers stand by their actions.

"The biggest misconception that people have is you look at, 'Okay, it's a five-year-old,' but anybody can cause injury to anybody else."

Connor's mom says he has the mental capacity of a three-year-old, and was on medication the day of the outburst. He's had them before, and mom says she previously worked out a plan with the school in case something like this happened. They were supposed to call her first, but they didn't.

The school released a statement saying, 'We and the police did everything we could to ensure that child's safety." The child may be safe, but the whole situation is sorry.

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