School authorities in Florida have defended their actions when a seven-year-old was put in handcuffs after he had allegedly acted aggressively for the second time in the school year.
In a statement, the school district's police chief said that the child's restraint was "warranted" as was the child's brief hospitalisation under the state's mental health act.
The child's mother, Mercy Alvarez, instead called the incident "police abuse", saying: "If my child wasn't aggressive anymore when we got there, like they were saying he was before, why take such extreme measures?"
Alvarez posted a video of the incident on Facebook, racking up almost three million views. According to the Associated Press, Alvarez intends to press charges.
An incident report from Miami-Dade County Public Schools police officer said that the child had been told to stop playing with his food and was removed from the cafeteria when he refused to comply.
The report then said that the child repeatedly kicked and punched a teacher and grabbed her hair in a struggle that left them both on the ground.
School officials said that this incident was the second time the same child had had to be restrained. A district spokesperson said that the child had not been arrested but was "restrained for transport." Officials said that a previous incident in November had seen the child kick and punch other students and staff.
The school district's police chief said that though it was rare for people this young to be taken in for psychological evaluation, it was "warranted to prevent his erratic and violent behavior from bringing further harm to others or himself".
Alvarez said that it was "too much for a boy that age to go through. It can't be a normal procedure" after saying that her son had not behaved aggressively until the start of the school year and had previously been a good student.