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Archive for Friday, March 8, 2002

Third-grader ‘not violent,’ mother says

She blames principal’s broken wrist on improper restraint of student

March 8, 2002

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The mother of a third-grader handcuffed by police after he broke his principal's wrist said school officials' mishandling of the boy helped cause the principal's injury.

Raquel Jordan, whose 9-year-old son eventually was handcuffed and taken into custody Tuesday by Lawrence Police, said Schwegler Principal Jane Ziegler and her staff failed to properly use the standard "Mandt system" hold to calm the youth. With that physical restraint, an adult stands behind a child, holding the child's arms in a crossed and locked position.

"If they had used the hold, he wouldn't have hurt anyone," Jordan said.

While being carried from the classroom, Jordan said, the boy accidentally struck Ziegler with his foot and fractured the principal's left wrist. The fracas started with the boy's theft of a piece of candy from a container in his third-grade classroom, Jordan said.

Ziegler said she couldn't discuss specific actions taken to restrain the student, citing confidentiality rules.

But, she said, "I followed the district's guidelines to defuse the situation."

Ziegler, who has a cast on her wrist, said district guidelines permit use of the Mandt hold. But she wouldn't say whether that technique was used.

The boy was suspended from school for five days, Jordan said.

She said her son had been disobedient at school before but never violent.

"He's not a violent child," Jordan said. "He's never done this before."

On Tuesday afternoon, she said, her son took candy from a jar that contained treats kept to reward students for good behavior.

Jordan said the boy refused to go to the principal's office and began crying. The child began throwing objects in his classroom, his mother said. At that point, she said, school staff tried to carry the youth from the room. Ziegler was injured while holding the child's legs, Jordan said.

"They shouldn't have been carrying him that way," Jordan said.

The boy was taken in handcuffs by police to the Douglas County Juvenile Intake Assessment Center in North Lawrence. He was released to the custody of his mother.

Jordan said her son wasn't a special-education student and wasn't on any medication.

Schwegler, 2201 Ousdahl Road, is the district's third-largest elementary with 440 students. Ziegler, who is in her first year as Schwegler's principal, said in February that she planned to resign at the end of the school year.

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