ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico , USA (AP) - A professor at New Mexico ordered a teenager 13 years to stop talking with a friend and moved to the next desk. The lower the teacher refused and called police.
It is one of the thousands of cases across the country that feeds a vibrant debate on when to call the teacher to the police to stop an unruly student. A girl of 6 years in a school of elementary education in Georgia was also taken in handcuffs to a detention center after starring in a destructive tantrum in class.
"Children are being detained because they are children," said Shannon Kennedy, a civil rights lawyer who filed a lawsuit against the district consolidated public school in Albuquerque and its police department on behalf of hundreds of juveniles arrested for minor offenses in recent years, as have cell phones in class, destroying a history book or inflate a condom.
Advocates for civil rights and criminal justice experts believe that a teacher frustrated and top schools approach the police too often to the minor incidents. But other researchers say that the increased police presence is the result of the zero tolerance policy in the early 1990 and tragedies like the massacre at Columbine High School, and aims to ensure the safety of teachers and students.
Since sexual harassment in elementary and secondary children throw furniture in a fit of anger "is a chronic attitude among students who basically all they care a damn," said Ellen Bernstein, president of the teachers' unions from Albuquerque .
The specialists include several factors such arrests: some agents have not received special training. The principals are desperate for attention from parents who do not care for their children. And teachers are not aware that calling the police could result in the formulation of a serious criminal complaint.
"I had suspicions for some time that schools had been turned over to law enforcement officers to deal with disciplinary problems," said Darrel Stephens, former police chief of Charlotte, North Carolina and executive director of the Association of Chief Police Major Cities.
In Milledgeville, Georgia, a city of 18,000 inhabitants located 144 kilometers (90 miles) from Atlanta, Johnson was charged Salecia boot multiple objects on a wall, throwing books and toys during a tantrum at Creekside Elementary School. Police said they also launched a small cupboard that hit the center director in the leg, perched on a paper shredder and tried to break a framed photo.
The police did not clarify the reason for the tantrum. The Superintendent of Baldwin County, Georgia, Geneva Braziel behavior labeled "violent and stupefying" and added that the police was required to ensure the safety of the student, his classmates and teachers.
Salecia was handcuffed and taken into a police car to a police station and was taken to the staff room, where he was given a drink. It will not be charged with any crime or misdemeanor. Her aunt, Candace Ruff said that she complained about the handcuffs, "said really hurt him in the wrist." The police policy is to handcuff everyone arrested, regardless of age, for security reasons, officials said.
In Florida, the use of police in schools came under fire several years ago when agents arrested a kindergarten boy who starred in a tantrum during a test to have treats. This year it was proposed a bill limiting the use of agents in juvenile detention for offenses that do not pose a danger to public safety.
In Connecticut, from March nearly 1,700 students were arrested, two thirds of disorderly conduct, minor arguments and improper public behavior.
In Texas, a report released in December by the activist organization nonprofit Texas Appleseed said more than 275,000 subpoenas unrelated to road traffic were studied annually to minors.
In Albuquerque more than 900 of the school district's 90,000 students were referred to the judicial system in the 2009-2010 academic year. Of these, 500 were handcuffed, arrested and taken to juvenile detention centers, authorities said.