Freedom - Black girl arrested at school over a drawing that upset a parent
January 24 2022
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Black girl arrested at school over a drawing that upset a parent

Story by Jenn Selva, Joe Sutton and Nicole Chavez

Story   Source

Published on October 27, 2021 12:49 PM
In the days after her arrest, the girl told her mother that she drew the picture but several other students were involved in coloring and writing on it, the group says in the letter. CNN reached out to Honowai Elementary School and the ACLU to determine what the drawing depicted but did not immediately hear back.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii is demanding policy changes after a 10-year-old Black girl was arrested at school over a drawing linked to a "run of the mill" dispute among children.

In response to the incident, the ACLU sent a letter Monday to the Honolulu Police Department, the state Department of Education and the state attorney general's office asking them to adopt policy changes, expunge all records of the arrest, and to pay $500,000 in damages for "harm and suffering" caused by their agencies.

In January 2020, a parent called the Honowai Elementary School in Honolulu to complain about the drawing made by the girl and demanded the staff call police, the ACLU said.

When police arrived, the girl, who was only identified as "N.B," was "handcuffed with excessive force and taken to the police station," the ACLU said.

The girl's mother, Tamara Taylor, said she was called to the school, but she was not allowed to see her daughter or informed that the girl was "handcuffed in front of staff and her peers, placed into a squad car and taken away." "I was stripped of my rights as a parent and my daughter was stripped of her right to protection and representation as a minor. There was no understanding of diversity, African-American culture and the history of police involvement with African-American youth.

My daughter and I are traumatized from these events and I'm disheartened to know that this day will live with my daughter forever," Taylor said in a statement shared by the ACLU on her behalf...

Black girls are often treated like adults, advocates say

The ACLU and a family attorney have described the actions by school staff and police in Hawaii as "extreme and disproportionate" and said they suggest the girl and her mother were singled out and discriminated against on account of their race.

Mateo Caballero, an attorney representing the family, the way his clients were treated is "too common and entirely preventable."

Researchers and advocates have said Black girls are often perceived and treated like adults, making them targets of harsh treatment by police and severe disciplinary action at school. A 2017 study conducted by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality found that Black girls as young as 5 years old are viewed as needing less protection and nurturing than White girls.

Earlier this year, a school resource officer in Florida body slammed a 16-year-old Black girl before handcuffing her. The girl's family said she suffered memory loss and headaches from the incident. In recent years, police in New Jersey came under fire for handcuffing a 10-year-old girl during a traffic stop, officers in officers in North Carolina were accused of body slamming boys and girls, holding them in a chokehold, and officers in Orlando, Florida, arrested 6-year-old girls for reportedly having a tantrum.

During the 2017-2018 school year, over 229,470 students were referred to law enforcement agencies or arrested, according to the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

Black students represented 15% of the student body, nearly 29% of referrals to law enforcement and 31% of all students arrested at school or during a school-related activity.

2020: The year America confronted racism

more about Racism in the United States

Americans were living through history in 2020 as the country was forced to reconcile the past and the present. The Covid-19 pandemic, which many had considered a "great equalizer," paralyzed the world and Black, Latino and Native American communities were among the hardest hit. Racist attacks against Asians in the US were also on the rise. Jogging, bird-watching or calling 911 while Black felt dangerous and George Floyd"s killing by a police officer shook Americans out of whatever made them numb to racism and police brutality.

No matter where you turned, you couldn't ignore reality. America was the epicenter of a racial reckoning.

Within days, people joined more than 10,000 demonstrations nationwide and a movement to demand reform in police departments across the country quickly followed. Confederate monuments were toppled. TV and sports arenas were not exempt from the call for social justice, and athletes were among the leading voices in the fight for racial equality.

Throughout the year, US law enforcement warned about a growing threat and concern that the rise of White supremacist groups had become the biggest domestic terrorism challenge.

By November, people turned from protesting in the streets to protesting at the polls and Black, Latino and Native Americans voters helped flipped some states blue.

Look back at the moments in politics, policing and culture that defined the extraordinary year in which America was forced to confront racism – and in some cases moved the needle toward change....