Kindergarten cops! Say 5-year-old autistic boy's tantrum at school gets 3 generations in scrap with NYPD

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/17/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )




A Brooklyn school’s botched handling of a 5-year-old autistic student’s tantrum ended disastrously — with his mom and grandma in handcuffs and his great-grandmother’s rib broken, the family and their lawyers charge.

Cops hauled the kindergartner out of Public School 197 in Brighton Beach, handcuffed his kin when they tried to comfort the boy, and pushed his 80-year-old great-grandmother out of the ambulance transporting him to the psych ward, they say.

“I was hysterical beyond belief, but I never expressed it because I wanted to help,” said mom Ida Rozenberg, 27, who was handcuffed before she was finally permitted to climb in the ambulance to comfort her son.

“He was crying and screaming,” she added. “They strapped him to that stretcher. He started, ‘What am I doing here? — in Russian. ‘Why am I here? What did I do?’ ”

On Tuesday, the family expects to officially notify the city of plans to sue over the March 6 incident. And officials confirm that the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board is investigating.

Police deny handcuffing or manhandling the family.

“No one was touched,” a police spokeswoman said, noting officers were called to the school because the boy was out of control.

The attorneys for the family, who asked to identify the boy as G.R., argue the police should never have been called.

“The school should not have let the police come in and put their hands on G.R.,” said lawyer Jeffrey Rothman, who along with James Meyerson and Anton Papakhin represents the family.

“They should have been able to handle this temper tantrum from a 5-year-old.”

In December, family members were called to the school when G.R. became upset, but they were allowed to comfort the boy and take him home.

They were treated very differently on March 6. Grandmother Maria Lirtsman, 50, was the first family member to arrive and was physically blocked from seeing her grandson, she said.

A police officer dragged her down the school stairs faster than she could walk, she said, and at one point she fell. Cops handcuffed her twice, Rothman said.

“I was treated like garbage, like I’m a second-hand citizen,” said Lirtsman, who immigrated to the U.S. 35 years ago. “In Russia

, I would expect something like that, but in America it was the first time.”

Cops also handcuffed the mother and then pushed the great-grandmother to the ground when she tried to get in the ambulance with the distraught boy.

The ambulance driver ultimately stepped in to make sure the police released Rozenberg from handcuffs.

G.R. was given a clean bill of mental health and released from Coney Island Hospital, his family and attorneys say.

Later that evening, great-grandmother Lana Lirtsman returned to the hospital, fearing she was having a heart attack. Instead she learned that her rib had been broken, the family said.

“I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me,” she said.

Department of Education officials declined to comment on the specific incident, citing privacy rules.

“The school has assigned a [a teacher’s aide\] for the child and has been working with the family to meet the needs of the student,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg.

Advocates charged calling cops on kindergartners shouldn't be tolerated in city schools.

"This is the kind of behavior that is so out of line and so inconsistent with any notion of how we should be dealing with children that it's really hard to believe," said New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman.

After trying to research the other thread currently going, in regards to the 6 year old girl that was hand cuffed, I came across this one.

This one, IMO, is completely unethical. I would be suing their ass!

How about you? How would you feel if your Autistic child was treated this way for a tantrum at school? Then to find yourself hand cuffed and pushed around?


**Jackie** - posted on 04/18/2012




Tracey, what a great idea your current school has with the timeout room! I've never heard of that!

It just goes to show, if a school and their educators thought about what to do BEFORE an incident (and it sounds like these incidences are pretty common) happened then there wouldn't be any need for a complete throw down.

Nikki - posted on 04/23/2012




I am in college for ECE Special Education I have been in a kindergarden Special Education classroom for 3 year ... I love the experience that I have gained from my time there .... all of the Special Education teachers and prospect teachers must take training courses through the school before going into a Special Educaiton classroom ... this teaches you how to handle "meltdowns" . The school that I am at has never called the cops on a child I have seen several meltdowns normally we are able to calm the child down but if not we contact the parents for them to come and calm the child and normally take the child home for the day. I do not agree with police handcuffing children in any situation and the family should always be allowed to try and calm the child they generally know the child best and know what type of things work and what doesn't work

Firebird - posted on 04/17/2012




Wow, you know, just yesterday my Autistic daughter had a meltdown at school, even broke a door handle. No cops were called. I wasn't even called because her teacher felt confident that she handled the situation properly. And she did. It was actually my neighbour who saw it all and told me. lol She said my daughter's teacher handled it perfectly and within minutes my daughter was calm as could be. And at the end of the day, Rhiannon was happy go lucky, so I asked her about it and we talked about it when we got home. There is never any need for his kind of behaviour. I was talking to my neighbour about this and I agree with her opinion on it: "they're cops, they have the authority and all you can do is listen to them, and sue them later for abusing that authority."


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Erin - posted on 06/07/2012




Cops anymore are just a bunch of steroid freaks with superiority complexes. I would not be at all surpirised if they did this and got away with it.Poor little boy why would a cop need to act like a medical provider for a child? Nazis.

Julie - posted on 04/22/2012




I would like to reserve judgment on this until I hear the whole story. It just doesn't make sense that the school's protocols would change from "contact the family to calm the child" to "call the cops and refuse to allow the family to see the child". This story just sounds so messed up that I have to wonder what part have we not heard about yet. It's confounding.

Tracey - posted on 04/18/2012




If the situation had occured before and was dealt with by the family why not do the same again?
If the family was at the school why not let them take the boy home?

My son has frequent meltdowns. His current school put him in the time out room until he is calm enough to return to lessons. He even has a time out card to show staff if he feels he is getting worked up. It works well and unless it is a really bad one they don't even call me anymore as they feel they can handle the situation.

His previous school was completely different, they would physically restrain him 4 - 5 times a day, he was constantly stressed and came home with bruises several times. When we complained the school decided they couldn't cope with him any more, called social services and made false allegations of child neglect against us. We changed schools and now have a offical report stating that we are good parents and all allegations were completely unfounded.

**Jackie** - posted on 04/17/2012




Yeah this one is completely different. That poor boy. If my child, autistic or not, was treated this way there would be a Hurricane Jackie up in that school.

Joanna, sounds like you have your daughter in a great school and environment :) Kudos to your munchkin's teacher

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