Six-Year-Old Girl Handcuffed in School for Taking Candy Off a Teacher’s Desk

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hand cuffsDisciplining a child is difficult. There’s a fine line between too harsh and too lenient, and none of us knows exactly where it is. But one Chicago mother was livid to discover that a school security guard had gone way too far this week and put her six-year-old daughter in handcuffs, then left her alone in the dark under some stairs to “teach her a lesson” for taking some candy.

According to NBC News, 6-year-old Madisyn Moore reportedly took some candy off a teacher’s desk, and in response the security guard at Fernwood Elementary School allegedly put her in handcuffs with her arms behind her back–as though she were a prisoner who posed a serious physical threat–and then forced her to sit in the dark under some stairs.

Moore’s mother was called about the incident and reportedly got to the school about 50 minutes after it happened, at which point they pulled her crying daughter out from under the stairs.

“I said ‘why you have my baby in cuffs?’ He said, ‘because I’m trying to teach them to stop taking stuff that don’t belong to them,'” Moore’s mother said.

If her daughter was still under the stairs when Moore arrived, it seems to add up that the little girl was probably under there for about an hour at least. That’s positively horrifying from the perspective of a little kid. This little girl was treated like a criminal, and the experience seems to have terrified her.

“They hurted,” Madisyn Moore said of the cuffs. “He snatched me out of my class. He made me get out in my handcuffs.”

I understand that this guy thought his job was to teach her a lesson, but the only thing he is teaching her is that people will hurt her, that adults will not protect her, and that she should be afraid of authority figures. 

Moore’s mother thinks the security guard was way out of line. 

“I understand these teenage boys and whatever the case may be, yeah you can try to teach them a lesson but this is a little girl,” her mother said, and she’s right.

A six-year-old is a very small child. She, like all children her age, needs gentleness and a supportive environment. All she did was take candy off a desk, which requires a talking-to about honesty and taking candy. A reasonable response would be to have her apologize and say she won’t do it again. She does not need to be handcuffed, or hauled from her classroom and forced to sit in the dark under the stairs in handcuffs. If you scare a child too much, all they’ll remember is the fear.

I was a small child once, and I did things that were wrong. We probably all did. But if you are doing something to a child that makes you sound like a villain from a Harry Potter book, you might need to reconsider your actions. 

Worst of all, Madisyn was allegedly left unattended under the stairs, in the dark, in handcuffs until her mother got to the school.

“Anything could have happened to her,” Madisyn’s mother said.

Madisyn’s mother allegedly contacted the principal about the incident, and the principal reportedly tried to apologize, but Madisyn’s mother says she does not accept it. I wouldn’t either. How do you apologize for putting a six-year-old in handcuffs under stairs in the dark for an hour? We send our kids to school in the hopes that they will learn and be protected while they grow into good, healthy, well-adjusted adults. It’s supposed to be safe to send our kids to school. They aren’t supposed to be traumatized by power-mad security guards who think six-year-olds need to be scared straight. I can’t even imagine what I would do in that situation if it were my child, but in my imagination, most of my reactions involve punching. Madisyn’s mother is reportedly considering suing the school. I’d probably be considering the same thing if it were me.