What to Know
- The boy was handcuffed after attacking his teacher, a police report said.
- Amid criticism, police said they were just following protocol.
- The boy's family will hold a press conference on Thursday.
The 7-year-old Miami boy who was handcuffed after repeatedly hitting a teacher had previously been hospitalized for evaluation after a separate violent incident, according to police reports.
The Coral Way Elementary student was involuntarily detained and evaluated on Friday under Florida's Baker Act mental health law. His family is criticizing police because the child was placed in handcuffs.
However, the head of the school police union said his fellow officer followed protocol when the child was "Baker Acted."
The same child was involuntarily detained and evaluated in November after punching students and staff, a police report said, which adds his parents said the child was showing "violent behavior at home."
School policy dictates that any student who is involuntarily detained under the Baker Act must be handcuffed on the way to the hospital for the safety of the child and the officers regardless of age.
Records show more children are being "Baker Acted" in South Florida. In the past five years, involuntarily detentions increased 42 percent in Miami-Dade County and 22 percent in Broward County.
The incident on Friday led to mixed reactions from the public. According to a report obtained by NBC 6, the 7-year-old was upset at a teacher who told him to stop playing with his food. The child attacked her by repeatedly punching her on her back. The report goes on to say that, once the teacher restrained the child from attacking her, the child continued to fight with his fists and legs, falling to the ground and then grabbing her hair.
The child's father said he knows what his child was wrong, but condemned the police officer for handcuffing his son.
“We are still suffering. This is insane," the child's father Rolando Fuentes said. "This is something that really affects our family, our friends.”
The family plans to hold a press conference on Thursday.
“I know my kid did wrong, and he will be punished for what he did ... But what the police officer did afterward, this is out of hand. Unbelievable," Fuentes added.
The child's mother, Mercy Álvarez, told NBC 6's sister station Telemundo 51 that the arrest was "very unjust" and she was planning to defend her son however possible.
Alvarez said her son doesn't have a mental disorder. She told the Associated Press that her son's arrest was "police abuse."
"If my child wasn't aggressive anymore when we got there, like they were saying he was before, why take such extreme measures?" she said.