Boy Handcuffed And Arrested For Burping In Class

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What is going on in American public schools these days? News stories lately have ranged from terrifying (like the teenager who pepper sprayed her high school classmates) to totally ridiculous (like the 9-year-old who was suspended for calling his teacher “cute”). The latest incident falls under the latter category. That would be the case of a 13-year-old boy who was handcuffed and sent to juvenile detention for – wait for it – burping in class.

Oh, the horror!

According to reports, the unnamed boy is in seventh grade at Cleveland Middle School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The big crime here is that he “burped audibly” during gym class. Now a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family alleges that the boy was hauled to a juvenile detention center without his parents being notified. It also says he was denied due process rights because he was suspended for the rest of the school year without “providing him an explanation of the evidence the school claimed to have against him.”

Meanwhile, over at the juvenile detention center, the boy scored a minus 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being extremely dangerous) during a risk assessment given by staff. “He posed less than zero risk to the community or himself,” the suit said.

In a separate incident earlier this school year, the boy went to school with $200 in his pocket. Administrators became suspicious and accused him of selling pot to another student, though he claimed he was simply planning to go shopping after school. Either way, the boy asked to call his mother but was instead told to strip down to his underwear while five adults watched.

I’d love to hear the school’s side of the story because if this is really all there is to it, then I am sick for this poor kid who was handcuffed – handcuffed! – for burping. I mean, really. Are there not more pressing issues that school staff can focus on (say, bullying)?

Apparently this isn’t the first student to be arrested for such a “crime.” According to reports, a lawyer who filed the suit said that this boy is one of more than 200 kids in the district arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors over the past three years. She’s the same lawyer who filed a suit by the parents of a 7-year-old with autism who was allegedly handcuffed to a chair after getting upset in class.

Again, we’re only hearing one side of the story here, but I’m interested in hearing the other side and what ultimately happens with these cases. And I sure do hope there’s a legitimate “other side” – otherwise, these teachers are nothing more than school bullies.

(Photo: CREATISTA/Shutterstock)