Police Arrest 7-Year-Old Boy for Allegedly Punching Teacher

Police tape
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Miami-Dade Schools Police handcuffed a 7-year-old boy on Thursday after he allegedly punched his teacher—and now his mother is claiming her son was caught in a case of cop abuse.

The first-grader was removed from the Coral Way K-8 Center's cafeteria for playing with his food and taken into a hallway where the female teacher was standing, according to a police report obtained by Channel 7-WSVN. The boy then "attacked the teacher by repeatedly punching her on the back." Someone stepped in to restrain him, but he continued to throw punches and kicks until they both fell to the floor, where he continued to struggle with the educator, the report said.

The teacher told authorities she wanted to press charges against the boy, who was taken to the principal's office after the incident. Once his parents arrived, they were told by an officer she had to either arrest the child or take him for a psychiatric evaluation.

"This is police abuse; a whim of the officer, because my son was calm when they came to look for him," his mother, Mercy Álvarez told El Nuevo Herald. "The principal, the counselor, and two other people tried to prevent that action and the officer took the child anyway."

The boy was taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and discharged hours later, in accordance with the Florida Mental Health Act, which permits involuntary exams if a person meets criteria that indicate he or she could pose a danger to themselves or others.

Álvarez posted a video she recorded on Facebook showed her son emerging from a police cruiser in handcuffs and being led into the hospital.

"Says he's a danger to society. I said, 'What? Seven years old? A danger to society?' his father, Rolando Fuentes, told Channel 7-WSVN.

The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department defended the arrest, claiming in a statement to the news channel: "This action was warranted to prevent his erratic and violent behavior from bringing further harm to others or himself. The manner in which he was transported to the receiving facility was done in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures."

This is the second time in three months that officers were called to the school to respond to the boy's tantrums. In November, he reportedly kicked a teacher, according to Channel 7-WSVN.

The boy's parents have met with lawyers to discuss taking legal action against the police department and the Miami-Dade School District, the Miami Herald reported.

The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department did not immediately return a request for comment from Newsweek.