Oviedo, Florida, is facing legal action as the family of a 9-year-old boy sues the city and its police department over an incident in which school resource officers handcuffed the child at Stenstrom Elementary School in Seminole County.
The lawsuit alleges that the officers’ actions caused harm to the child and seeks damages for the distressing incident.
On February 2nd, two Oviedo police officers were in the school’s mailroom as staff attempted to address a situation involving a fourth-grade student who was reportedly cursing, screaming, and throwing objects.
According to a police report, the child had an Individual Education Plan and a Behavior Intervention Plan that specifically identified physical aggression as one of the behavioral issues to be addressed.
Video footage of the incident shows school staff using blocking pads designed for de-escalation.
However, the officers ultimately resorted to handcuffing the 9-year-old while urging him to calm down.
The video also captures officers maintaining a dialogue with the child during this period.
The family’s lawsuit points out that according to the student’s plan when faced with his aggressive behavior, school staff should “not engage in any conversation other than having him complete the task” and should limit the attention directed at him.
The child remained in handcuffs for approximately 13 minutes before being released.
Lawsuit Filed Over Handcuffing of 9-Year-Old in Oviedo, Florida
In response to the incident, the family filed a lawsuit against the City of Oviedo and the involved officers, though they did not include the school district in their legal action.
Among the damages claimed, they argue that the incident exacerbated the boy’s pre-existing condition.
“Nine-year-old children should not be handcuffed by police officers at school. The City of Oviedo has failed to reach out to the family to make any effort to address this unfortunate situation. It was not my clients’ preference to initiate litigation, but the city’s failure to investigate this incident and the officers involved left them no alternative,” stated the family’s attorney in a released statement.
Oviedo Police Department has declined to provide interviews or statements regarding the matter, citing the ongoing litigation.