School District: Officer complied with restraint policies after handcuffing student

School District: Officer complied with restraint policies after handcuffing student

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - The superintendent of Covington Independent Public Schools says an independent investigator believes the school resource officer who allegedly handcuffed two children complied with the school district's restraint policies.

In a letter sent to parents, Superintendent Alvin Garrison, reassured that children inside the school district are safe in school.

"After a thorough review of this matter, including numerous interviews with witnesses and other research, the investigator concluded that Deputy (Kevin) Sumner and Covington school personnel complied with school district's restraint policies," Garrison wrote in the letter.

The investigator was hired by CIPS to conduct an independent investigation.

Garrison said the school district is examining restraint practices for all students, faculty and staff.

The Kenton County Sheriff's Office is also defending a school resource officer who is being sued by the Children's Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union for allegedly shackling two elementary students.

According to the complaint, Deputy Kevin Sumner caused pain and trauma to an 8-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl when he allegedly handcuffed them three separate times during the fall of 2014. Both children have disabilities, according to court documents.

Sumner allegedly locked handcuffs around the children's biceps and forced their hands behind their backs.

"I steadfastly stand behind Deputy Sumner who responded to the school's request for help," said Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn in a statement released Tuesday.

One of the incidents was captured on camera by a school worker in November 2014. The ACLU provided the video, which shows the boy identified as S.R. being handcuffed and crying at Latonia Elementary.

"You can do what we ask you to or you can suffer the consequences," a deputy can be heard saying. The child says "Oh, God. Ow, that hurts."

[Mobile users: View the video here]

The lawsuit claimed a girl, L.G., was handcuffed twice behind her back by her biceps at Covington's John G. Carlisle Elementary School in October 2014. According to the complaint, the incidents also happened in October 2014 for 20 to 30 minutes. No video was provided of either incident involving L.G.

Both children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other problems, according to the ACLU, and both children were being punished for behavior related to their disabilities.

Neither child was arrested nor charged with any criminal conduct.

The lawsuit also names Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn, for alleging his failure to adequately train and supervise Deputy Sumner, a school resource officer at several public elementary schools in Covington. In addition, the complaint claims that the Kenton County Sheriff's Office violated the Americans with Disabilities Act based on the treatment of the children.

"Kentucky's school personnel are prohibited from using restraints, especially mechanical restraints, to punish children or as a way to force behavior compliance," said Kim Tandy, executive director of the Children's Law Center, in a release. "These regulations include school resource officers. These are not situations where law enforcement action was necessary."

The complaint seeks a change in policies by the Kenton County Sheriff's Office along with more training for school resource officers in dealing with young children and children with special needs.

The suit is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages against Sumner.

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