Police in the southern US state of Georgia on Tuesday defended their decision to use handcuffs to restrain a six-year-old girl who threw a tantrum at school.
Police in the town of Milledgeville were called to Creekside Elementary on Friday "to assist with an unruly juvenile who had damaged other students' property, school property and had injured the principal," interim police chief Dray Swicord said in a statement.
The principal told the officer that the student had caused damage to school property and had tried several times to run away from the premises.
"The officer noticed all the damage, placed the student in handcuffs for the student's safety as well as others," the statement read.
When police and school officials were unable to contact the child's parents, "the officer transported the student, handcuffed, to the police station."
However, contrary to early reports, police said the handcuffs were removed when they reached the station.
"The student was never placed in a holding cell or jail cell," the statement read. Instead she was taken to a briefing room and given a drink, and eventually an aunt came to pick her up.
"She might have misbehaved," the girl's aunt, Constance Ruff, told local TV station 13WMAZ, "but I don't think she misbehaved to the point where she should have been handcuffed and taken downtown to the police department."
The child's mother, Constance Ruff, said that her daughter was suspended and cannot return to school until August. She blamed the bad behaviour on mood swings.
"She has mood swings some days, which all of us have mood swings some days," she told 13WMAZ. "I guess that was just one of her bad days that day."