A deputy sheriff in Kentucky allegedly violated the rights of two children with disabilities by handcuffing them as a means of punishment, according to a federal lawsuit.
Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner and Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn are named in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The Kenton County Sheriff’s Department says it will not comment until it reviews the lawsuit.
The children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, according to the lawsuit.
One of the incidents – involving an 8-year-old boy – was captured on video released by the American Civil Liberties Union. The third-grader could be seen crying out in pain in the video after the handcuffs were locked around his biceps. The video was recorded in the fall of 2014.
A second student, a 9-year-old girl, was also handcuffed twice in the fall of 2014, according to the lawsuit.
The children “experienced pain, fear, and emotional trauma, and an exacerbation of their disabilities” as a result of being handcuffed, according to the ACLU and attorneys for the children’s parents.
Kenyon Meyer, an attorney for the boy’s family, said the boy’s behavior is related to his ADHD.
“Handcuffs have no place in schools with little children who are having discipline issues,” Meyer said.
The ACLU is calling for an end to shackling children, saying it does more harm than good.
"Using law enforcement to discipline students with disabilities only serves to traumatize children,” Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement.
“It makes behavioral issues worse and interferes with the school’s role in developing appropriate educational and behavioral plans for them.”
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a declaration that handcuffing the children violated their rights.