Police in Florida arrested a 6-year-old girl for having a tantrum at school, an incident her outraged grandmother says was the result of a medical condition, WKMG-TV reports.
On Thursday, Meralyn Kirkland got a call notifying her that a school resource officer had handcuffed and arrested her granddaughter, Kaia Rolle, at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy in Orlando.
Kirkland told the television station that Rolle had been acting out during class, which she said was the result of a lack of sleep caused by a medical problem. A school staffer reportedly grabbed Rolle’s wrists in an effort to calm her down, prompting her to kick the employee.
Kirkland said she tried to explain the girl’s behavior to Officer Dennis Turner and told him she has sleep apnea, which the family has been working to get resolved. Kirkland told the television station that Turner did not seem to understand. He allegedly said “Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don’t behave like that,” according to Kirkland.
Rolle was brought to a juvenile assessment center on a charge of battery.
“How do you do that to a 6-year-old child and because she kicked somebody?” Kirkland told WKMG-TV, at times struggling not to cry. “A literal mug shot of a 6-year-old girl.”
Rolle told the television station she felt bad about what happened.
“I felt sad that my grandma was sad, and I really missed her,” Rolle said.
An 8-year-old child was also arrested in Orlando that day, according to the Orlando Police Department. Agency policy requires that officers get approval from a supervisor before arresting anyone younger than 12 years old, but Turner failed to do that, according to Orlando Police Sgt. David Baker.
Internal investigations are now scrutinizing the arrests.
Kirkland said she hopes no other children have to go through what her granddaughter experienced.
“No 6-year-old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them and they were riding in the back of a police car and taken to a juvenile center to be fingerprinted,” Kirkland told WKMG-TV.
[Feature image: Kaia Rolle/Facebook]
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