Authorities and school officials say they had no choice but to restrain an 8-year old special needs student from Lovejoy Elementary School in Alton on Tuesday. The child was taken to the Alton Law Enforcement Center where she was held in a juvenile holding cell until she was reunited with her uncle, who is her guardian. The uncle is questioning the actions of adults against the 8-year old, but those being questioned are standing by their actions.
Authorities were apparently called Tuesday morning when the child started throwing a tantrum and reportedly would not stop. The uncle, Nehemiah Keeton, told media outlets he was called Wednesday morning about the incident and was on his way to the school from his job in St. Louis, and found out the girl was handcuffed and her feet were also restrained when she was taken to the police station. Keeton said the child was restrained on other occasions by teachers due to her behavior until he arrived to pick her up, and didn't understand why police were called this time. Acting Alton Police Chief Captain Scott Waldrup says in extreme cases restraint is used to protect a child as well as other children or teachers in a classroom. Alton School District Assistant Superintendent Kristie Baumgartner says police are called in extremely rare cases to protect everyone involved if a parent or guardian refuses to respond to the scene. Keeton says he was on his way to get the girl. Neither Baumgartner nor Waldrup would comment specifically about this case citing confidentiality issues and the fact the child is a juvenile.