Jmyha Rickman, a student at Lovejoy Elementary School in Alton, Illinois, threw a fit in a classroom yesterday morning, then hauled into jail.

8-year-old Jmyha Rickman may never throw another temper tantrum in school again, especially after what she had to experience this week. Jmyha, a student at Lovejoy Elementary School in Alton, Illinois, had a tantrum in class, but the teachers and staff couldn’t control her this time.  Instead of calling her guardian, Nehemiah Keeton, staff called the police. Keeton told KMOV-TV: “Her eyes were swollen from her crying and her wrists had welts on them and they cuffed her feet too”. He said the Jmyha threw a tantrum because she wasn’t  allowed to use the bathroom.

Kristie Baumgartner, assistant superintendent of the Alton School District, said district policy says if a student is a risk to themselves or someone else, police would be called if a parent or guardian refuses to pick them up. Alton police told KMOV that they were responding to a call about an out of control child who was tearing up two classrooms. Police also stated that the child was put in a supervised juvenile detention room at the police station. An officer says he thinks the appropriate actions were taken, according to KMOV.

Keeton doesn’t feel the situation was handled properly. ‘This is something that I don’t feel like any 7 or 8-year-old – I mean,  she didn’t have a weapon threatening to harm anybody.”


Do you think the treatment was justified?

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  • The Artist

    Torn. Although putting an eight year old in handcuffs seems over the top, situations like these maybe very difficult for teachers, especially when teachers are prohibited from restraining the child. After all, teachers reserve the right to protect themselves and the other students, if need be.

    I really think there should be another system in place for handling this type of behavior without involving the police. I’m going out on a limb here, but maybe some sort of behavior specialist ( I have no idea what they should be called) would work, someone who is capable of providing behavior-related assistance/advice to teachers when needed. Wishful thinking, I suppose…

    • Treece

      I agree. And systems like this are already in place at alternative schools for children with behavior problems and emotional disturbances. Parents are given a permission slip basically giving the staff permission to restrain if the child is a danger to him/herself or others. From what has been said about this child, if I had to make a decision, one of those types of schools seems appropriate for her. But because she is in a public school (most of which have hands-off policies) then that’s all they really could do. If the teacher had restrained her then they would have complained about that. Tough situation.

    • Jen

      I work for an agency that deals with out of control teens and children. Each staff person is trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention and restraint. Basically, I’m called to help the child work through their problems and, if things have gotten out of control, safely restrain the child until she calms down. Having a couple of trained adults in the school could have prevented this. She and the other children would have been safe until a parent could arrive and if necessary then she’d be suspended. No trauma involved.

  • Mellanese

    I tihnk this little girl is bad as HELL. She went to school showing out and AGAIN and teacher said that’s it call the police. The uncle even admitted that they have had to restrain her before…Now she is scared to go back to the school no her card has been pulled SEND HER BUTT right back to the same school she will flinch when she see’s security

  • NOitAll

    Hmmmph. I wonder if this were a little white girl would everyone commenting be so quick to throw her under the bus. It just goes to show a Black woman or girl’s greatest enemy is usually another Black woman.

    • Fantastico

      I wouldn’t go so far to condemn anyone in particular for the treatment of this child. It is a systematic problem where children of color are generally treated more harshly than others.

      Another system of restrain should be implemented in public schools for situations like this. One that does not waste police resources on petty school behavior problems and respects the dignity of children and parents.

    • Kam

      While I do agree that Black children are treated more harshly, having been a teacher I also know that they are restricted on what they can do in terms of a situation like this. From the article it says that they have teachers hold her down before. Although this might work, this is not a long term solution to the problem. Ultimately the teachers need to be able to attend to other students and give them their attention too. What about all the other Black children that are just trying to get an education. I think this little girl needs help and while I don’t agree with handcuffing children I think they did it because they were at the end of their rope.

    • My son has mental issues and throws temper tantrums at home. if he were to throw one at school the way he does at home i would be fine if the schook what this one did. yes she is a young chikd however my 8 year old can turn into the hulk when he is angry. it takes all of my strength to restrain him. i have seen him throw furniture during a fit. black, white, green, or orange when a child is throwing a major fit they CAN be dangerous and ANYTHING can become a weapon.

  • What were these idiot teachers and administrators thinking? Calling the cops? At worst you bodily pick the child up and carry her to the office where she is locked in a room until she settles down. And what were the idiot police doing putting her in handcuffs? Absolutely ridiculous.

  • Adry

    We have one like that at my school, is a 3rd grader. He yells, cries, curse, vomit and last time in my class (art) he wanted to throw a chair and he hit another teacher who came to my classroom to help. I just wanted to call the police but my administrator give him popcorn and talk to him to calm him down. All of this because I didn’t allow him to use another piece of paper
    I don’t buy his tantrum now every time he has a outburst get something …not fear