A 10-year-old girl was arrested at school in Oahu, Hawaii, last year after making a sketch of another student that reportedly made a parent “very upset.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii is taking action, calling on officials to make changes and compensate the child and her mother $500,000 damages, according to a letter sent by the organization on Monday, both Hawaii News Now and The Associated Press reported.
The letter was sent to the Honolulu Police Department and the state Department of Education with demands including prohibiting school staff from calling the police unless in a case where there is “imminent threat of significant harm” against another individual, according to reports.
The letter said the Honowai Elementary School student, who has ADHD and is referred to as “N.B.” in the document, made the drawing in January 2020 after getting bullied by a student, Hawaii News Now reported.
A spokesperson from the Hawaii Department of Education declined to comment. Keith Hui, who serves as the superintendent of the Leeward District Complex Area which includes Honowai Elementary School, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Mateo Caballero, an attorney for the child’s family, told Hawaii News Now, “a parent of one of the kids who received this drawing, was very upset and essentially demanded that they call the police.”
“She didn’t bring any weapons to school, she didn’t make any explicit threats to anyone,” he added.
The ACLU’s letter said the girl was handcuffed in front of her classmates, taken into custody, and interrogated by law enforcement without her mother present, according to the report. No charges were filed against her.
“That’s just straight up wrong,” ACLU of Hawaii Legal Director Wookie Kim, told Hawaii News Now. “And there’s nothing that condones or justifies that.”
The Honolulu Police Department told Insider in a statement that it is reviewing the ACLU’s letter and “will be working with Corporation Counsel to address these allegations.”
When the child’s mother – identified as Tamara Taylor – arrived at the school, she was blocked from seeing her child, the report said. The child was taken to Pearl City Police Station and then released to her mother.
The letter said that the child’s mother voiced concern about her daughter “in light of the police presence given the high rate of police violence against Black people, and the discriminatory disciplining of black girls in schools,” The Associated Press reported.
According to reports, the child and her mother moved after the incident.
The ACLU of Hawaii did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.