A 7-year-old is cuffed, carted off to hosp.
[New York Daily News, 17 May 2004]
By RICHARD MORGAN
No one would guess from Frankie’s glowing report card that his Bronx school packed the 7-year-old off to the hospital for mental evaluations four times in four weeks — once in handcuffs.
“The school is always calling me: ‘Your son went to the hospital,’” said his mother, Teresa, who asked that her name be changed, along with her son’s. “I say, ‘My boy isn’t crazy. He’s not a danger.’ I cried a lot from this. It hurts my kid a lot.”
On his report cards, Frankie’s second-grade teachers at Public School/Middle School 15 in University Heights called him “a lively young boy” who “continues to enjoy learning.”
Yet week after week this school year, school officials shipped Frankie to North Central Bronx Hospital. The principal declined to talk about the case.
Once, Frankie was eating lunch when other kids started chucking French fries at him, his mother said.
“I said, ‘Leave me alone. Leave me alone,’” Frankie told his mom. “But they threw potatoes at me and knocked my lunch over.”
Frankie got angry and stomped on the milk box of one of his laughing tormentors. The milk splashed on a teacher, who called for an ambulance.
“They said they needed handcuffs because he is strong,” Teresa said. “They didn’t have the force to dominate him. But how does someone not have the strength to take care of a 7-year-old boy?”
Teresa is constantly forced to leave her job at an aluminum factory an hour and a half away from Frankie’s school.
“I haven’t gotten into trouble at work, but I’m worried about it,” she said. “I get calls all the time. The school says, ‘Come get him.’ And when I show up, he has been taken to the hospital.”
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