8-year-old Handcuffed: Why Were Special-Needs Student Jmiyha Rickman's Hands And Feet Bound? [VIDEO]

By Jason Van Hoven on March 7, 2013 2:59 PM EST

An 8-year-old was handcuffed despite being a special-needs student at Love Joy Elementary School in the Alton school district of St. Louis, Miss., and held in a police car for nearly two hours after throwing a temper tantrum on on Tuesday, according to reports.

Officers from the Alton Police Department defended their decision to put the 8-year-old Jmiyha Rickman, who is autistic, in handcuffs after she tried to hit a school resource officer and tore up two classrooms, KSDK reported. Rickman's guardian and uncle, Nehemiah Keeton said that Rickman suffers from separation anxiety and depression, and, as a result of being handcuffed, is too afraid to go back to school.

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"I trusted the school to give her the adequate treatment and care she deserves and they failed us," Keeton said.

Keeton said that he received a call from the school to pick Rickman up, something that has happened multiple times even while teachers have had to hold Rickman down from throwing tantrums. While on his way to the school, he then got a call from police informing him Rickman was in custody, the first time, he said, a police officer has been involved.

"I feel like if you can't handle an 8-year-old without calling the police," Keeton said. "To put fear in them like my child, you don't need to work with kids."

Police said they did treat Rickman. But, they also revealed that her hands and feet had to be handcuffed and a belt tied around her waist, with the utmost caution.

"I will tell you in this particular case it was necessary to protect that child by restraining that child," said Captain Scott Waldrup.

Although the school said it was rare for police to get involved, it also said that they were called upon as a final measure.

"As a last resort we sometime have to involve law enforcement," Alton Schools Assistant Superintendent Kristi Baumgartner told KMOV. "They take the student into protective custody when the parent refuses to pick up the child."

Keeton has pulled Rickman out of Love Joy Elementary School and said that he would homeschool her until he decides where to send her next.

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