A resource officer in a Kentucky school traumatized two children with disabilities when he restrained them with handcuffs for misbehaving, a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union claims.
The suit, filed Monday in federal court in Covington, says the officer, identified as Kevin Sumner, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when he handcuffed the children in the fall of 2014. The ACLU said similar incidents occurred two other times that fall.
In conjunction with the lawsuit, the ACLU released a video that shows a man the group identifies as Sumner handcuffing a boy above the elbow, saying, “You don’t get to swing at me like that,” as the boy cries.
Sumner, the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office and Charles Korzenborn, the county sheriff, are all named in the suit.
The two children in the incidents were identified in the lawsuit as S.R., the 8-year-old boy shown in the video, and L.G., a 9-year-old girl. The ACLU says the children “experienced pain, fear, and emotional trauma, and an exacerbation of their disabilities” as a result of the events. Both the boy and the girl have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the lawsuit.
“This is about the idea of making children comply, rather than working with children to learn,” said Claudia Center, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU and one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the case. “This is not an isolated incident that these types of restraints occur across the country.”
The plaintiffs, including the mothers of the two children represented, ask for the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office to implement procedures, policies and rules on how schools interact with children, as well for an undetermined amount of money as compensation for the trauma their children endured.
The lawsuit says that Korzenborn failed to train and supervise Sumner, and that Sumner acted “maliciously, intentionally, and in reckless disregard to the rights of the plaintiffs.”
In a statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday, Korzenborn said he supports Sumner and his work for the sheriff’s office.
“I steadfastly stand behind Deputy Sumner who responded to the school’s request for help,” Korzenborn said. “Deputy Sumner is a highly respected and skilled law enforcement Deputy, and is an asset to the community and those he serves.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, Jennifer Calfas