Mom outraged after son 7, handcuffed at school

Chrystal McCadden recorded video of her son while he was handcuffed at school. NBC News image

FLINT, Mich. — A mother in Flint, Michigan is furious after police handcuffed her 7-year-old son inside an elementary school. Police say they handcuffed the child to protect others and himself from injury.

“He don’t deserve to be in no handcuffs. He ain’t in here with no knife. He ain’t in here with no gun, said the boy’s mother, Chrystal McCadden.

The boy was handcuffed during an after-school program. The school and police have released few details about the incident.

McCadden recorded cell phone video of her handcuffed son as she walked into the Brownell Stem Academy. McCadden said the officer couldn’t release her son because he didn’t have a key.

“You put my son in handcuffs and you don’t have the key, what sense does that make?” she said.

Chrystal McCadden recorded video of her son while he was handcuffed at school. NBC News image
Chrystal McCadden recorded video of her son while he was handcuffed at school. NBC News image

McCadden said that the officer eventually got a key and released her son. The Flint Police Chief explained the officer’s actions.

“The officer used handcuffs to restrain the child to prevent injury to the child or others,” said Flint Police Chief James Tolbert.

McCadden said she asked her son about what happened. “This first thing he said, ‘I did not kick, I was kicking the cart’ ,” said McCadden.

McCadden says she didn’t get any answers from the school or the police until local journalists began reporting the story. She is coming forward to make sure this doesn’t happen to others.

“I don’t want a kid to feel like, ‘ If I do something wrong, I’m going to get handcuffed,” said McCadden.

“It is our model to engage children in a positive light that will foster trust and respect. This incident does not reflect positively on that model,” said Chief Tolbert .

The school district is looking into the incident.

“For Flint Community Schools, our number one priority is the safety of all our students. If this incident involving the student did occur, it is unacceptable. We are asking the Flint Police Department to conduct a full review of the situation so we can get the facts,” said Flint Community Schools Superintendent Bilawl Tawwab.

McCadden hopes Flint police get some training on how to deal with kids.

“I was told that when he walked in, he told my son if you don’t sit down I’m going to handcuff you,” she said.

The police chief said he has scheduled training for all officers geared toward interactions with children. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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