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Cops Pepper Spray 8-Year-Old -- Was It Justified?

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Police pepper-sprayed 8-year-old Aidan while he was having a violent temper tantrum at school, as revealed this morning during a "Today" show appearance.

Watch to learn Aidan's story, and hear his mom's reaction to the incident.

Momlogic wants to know -- were police justified in using pepper spray?

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12 comments so far | Post a comment now
Karen April 6, 2011, 12:53 PM

Excuse me, his THIRD run in with police at school? Wow! This child definitely doesn’t belong in a regular classroom with other 8 year olds. What if they’d been hurt? Glad to see he’s been moved to a school for behavioral problems. It’s interesting that they try to make him look like a normal little 8 year old with his dog when he was so violent that he could have hurt/killed another child!

Ashley April 6, 2011, 7:27 PM

As a teacher, I commend the teachers for calling police and the police for using pepper spray. Teachers have a right to protect themselves. Often we worry about the child and the children’s safety. All too often we forget about our own personal safety. On the CNN report you stated that an adult should have “taken the wood out of his hands.” You can’t. Legally you can’t touch the child. If you restrain him, you better be trained to restrain or you will be sued or you could hurt the child. Sometimes a child can’t be talked down and sometimes the best thing you can do for the child is calling the police.

Linda April 6, 2011, 7:42 PM

This mother is in denial. Absolutely teachers and police did the right thing. Kids today like Aiden have anger and behavior issues and parents make excuses for them. Parents need to take responsibility and parent their children.

Melissa April 6, 2011, 8:29 PM

How can this mom calmly sit next to her son while he talks about getting something sharp to hurt his teachers with!!!! Is she insane! She wants them to talk to him and find out what is bothering him!?! This child was threatening teachers and throwing things. I’m sure a police officer wouldn’t pepper spray a child unless they felt it was necessary.

barb April 6, 2011, 9:18 PM

As a pre-k teacher for over eleven years it is illegal for a teacher to restrain a child in most states. Not only that if you wait for mom to arrive and he hurts himself you are held responsible for his injury. It may seem harsh but in today’s school setting it’s common that the teacher is hog tied as far as keeping peace.

chatarri April 7, 2011, 6:08 AM

If the police or the teachers had physically tried to restrain him, then there would be a brutality or abuse lawsuit - get real!! This “high fuctioning autism spectrum” has gone too far - you’re blaming the schools - how about the kids who do not have a “diagnosis” that requires them to have multiple teachers/help/etc? Can’t you see - kids like this are breaking the schools & our education. They are “mainstreamed” and there are parents looking for “diagnosis” not answers! But, ask yourself, seriously, what would this story be had someone physically restrained this child!!!!

onekidmom April 7, 2011, 6:13 AM

And you wonder why those of us whose children aren’t diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, PDD, ODD, Aspergers, ASD, etc, are pulling our children to home school or making the financial sacrifice for private schools. How can this be a learning environment for children? Think of the others in this classroom. Personally, this childs’ mother is in utter denial and looking for excuses.

Anonymous April 7, 2011, 8:12 AM

I love how momlogic asks questions like this and expects everybody to be outraged. People have already said, teachers have no power, children have the power. If the teachers had been allowed to touch and restrain him then the pepper spray would not have been necessary. They aren’t, so the police got called and the child was hurt. As a teacher myself, I’m happy to see the authorities working to protect teachers from violence. It’s sad that it was necessary, but it’s also sad that teachers are the most powerless people in schools today.

IsThatMomForReal? April 7, 2011, 9:44 AM

Wow- I have a son very similar to hers, and there is NO way that boy is seeing doctors every week without a diagnosis of any sort. Mine has ADHD/ODD/mood disorder, and can escalate very quickly. In a way, I really feel for that mom, because I’ve been there. (no cops, but close…) I know what it’s like to drop your kid off at school and hope you don’t get a call asking you to come pick them up. It’s heartbreaking.
The adults who responded absolutely did the right thing. If that were my son, I would expect the same. Violence is violence- and an 8 year old boy can do quite a bit of damage. The boy needs to be seen by a psych who specializes in this sort of behavior. I find it very hard to believe that he limits this behavior to school time. It seems like she is afraid to have him “labeled” with a diagnosis, but that is just holding him back. She insists he is a “normal 8 year old boy,” but she isn’t doing him any favors by denying it.

MP April 7, 2011, 1:02 PM

Yet another parent in denial and blaming everyone else. The problem with schools is NOT teachers and the schools but the parents. When/if they’re finally held responsible and accountable, is when things will truly change for our education system.
I struggle to keep my child in private school and other children’s bad behavior and ambivalent, irresponsible parents are the biggest reasons I choose private over public. Sad.

Carol April 7, 2011, 7:30 PM

I believe the mother is lying about her son be a normal 8 yo at every place else. That behaviour is never contain to one particualr location, It may be worst at school, but school can not be the one place wherre he gets violent.

Kredyty April 8, 2011, 8:22 PM

I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

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