Meredith Kolodner, Schools chancellor says at times restraints are needed, will look into handcuffing of special ed boy, N.Y. Daily News, Apr. 21, 2011, at 5.
Joseph, 7, a special education student at a Manhattan School, was handcuffed and taken away from school in an ambulance.
Promising to look into last week’s handcuffing of a 7-year-old special education student, schools chancellor Dennis Walcott said that sometimes restraining young children that way is necessary.
The Daily News reported Thursday that first grader Joseph Anderson was removed from Public School 153 in Maspeth, Queens, in handcuffs and taken in an ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital after he became upset while painting an Easter egg.
When asked if handcuffing a 7-year-old was ever justified, Walcott replied, “There are occasions when it may need to be done, and I think it’s the responsibility of the principal and school safety to work together to make that determination.”
He also said that he’d look into the incident to find out what happened and make sure he’s “satisfied with the answer.”
“We have many incidents that take place without handcuffs being used,” he added, “and there are other means to engage and so people do not make this decision lightly.”
Walcott called mom Jessica Anderson Thursday morning, and they spoke for about five minutes, Anderson said.
“I felt like his main concern was about (her son) not being in that school,” said the single mom. “I thought he’d say something like, ‘How is your son feeling, is he ok?’”
While Anderson wants the principal removed from the school, Walcott said no one would lose their job over the incident.
Seven-year-old Joseph said he was looking for an apology.
“I want those cops to say sorry to me and the principal for calling the ambulance on me and handcuffing me,” said the soft-spoken first grader.
He said he still thought about the incident often.
“I got angry because I wanted to see where my mom was at,” he said. “I wanted her to come so bad. I wanted to color the Easter egg again because I wanted to show how nice it could be but they wouldn’t let me.”