PHILADELPHIA, N.Y. – New York state police are defending the actions of two troopers who placed a 5-year-old special needs student in handcuffs and shackled his feet while bringing him to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
Police said the child was restrained Wednesday because he was “out of control” and “combative” in school.
Trooper Jack Keller, a public information officer, says the boy’s behavior posed a risk to himself, students, school staff and troopers.
An official with the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services says staff tried for two hours to de-escalate the situation until police arrived.
The boy’s parents, Chelsea A. and Ryan R. Ruiz of Fort Drum claim the school did not properly handle the situation and allowed it to escalate by calling police. The Ruizes said their son is emotionally traumatized and is fearful of returning to school.
Chelsea Ruiz says hospital officials determined that her son, Connor, did not need to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. She says he was just a boy throwing a tantrum.
The family plans to sue.