1st Grader Handcuffed After Easter Egg Tantrum

Officials defend decision to restrain special ed student.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott on Thursday promised an investigation into the handcuffing of a 7-year-old boy at his school, but said restraining young children may sometimes be necessary.

"There are occasions when it may need to be done, and I think it's the responsibility of the principal and school safety to work together to make that determination," Walcott told the Daily News Thursday.

Walcott spoke on the phone Thursday with the mother of Joseph Anderson, the special-education first-grader who was handcuffed after he became upset while decorating an Easter egg at his school on April 13.

Jessica Anderson tells the Daily News that Joseph was taken in cuffs to the hospital even though she told the school she was on her way to get him. She says the boy was upset and kept asking for "Mommy."     

"Why handcuff him?" Anderson asked the paper. "Why get the cops involved? He's only 7."

"They know that my son is special ed. It's like they're trying to get rid of him, and it worked, because I'm not sending him back there," she added.

After speaking with Walcott, Anderson told the Daily News that the chancellor seemed to be more concerned about her son "not being in that school," and that he did not inquire about her son's well-being after the incident.

The boy told the News he wanted an apology. "I want those cops to say sorry to me and the principal for calling the ambulance on me and handcuffing me," said Joseph, described as a "soft-spoken first grader."

His mother has said she wants the principal removed from the school, P.S. 153 in Maspeth, Queens, but Walcott said no one would lose their job over the incident, the News reports.

Instead, he is promising to investigate what happened and make sure he was "satisfied with the answer."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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