The family of a 7-year-old special needs student in Dallas says school staff and police used excessive force to restrain him and then allegedly sent him to a mental health facility for a week without his mother’s permission.
Yosio Lopez is a student at Gabe P. Allen Elementary School who has both ADHD and another, unspecified mood disorder, CNN reports. Lopez began banging his head against a wall during class last Tuesday—his regular school aide, who usually intervenes and calms him down, was reportedly unavailable.
The boy told his family he was restrained by force on a desk with his hands handcuffed behind his back while the school’s principal put her elbow on his neck, Lopez’s family’s lawyer, David Ramirez, told CNN. At some point, Lopez said, a Taser was used on him. His family showed photos of the boy’s bruised legs and back to NBC-DFW, his grandmother recounting:
“He said, ‘The police laser tagged me at school,’ and he says, ‘My body did this real, real bad,’ and he goes, ‘By the time you knew it I had those handcuffs on my back,’” said Lopez’s grandmother, Eva Alejandro. “He goes, ‘I couldn’t get out of it, and all I wanted was my mommy.’”
The Dallas Independent School District told Fusion that school police do not carry Tasers.
Ramirez told CNN the student was then taken by school officials to the Dallas Behavioral Health Hospital for a week without his parents’ consent, and that his mother was not allowed to see him for the first two days. The family has not filed a lawsuit, but told local reporters the school should have had more and better-trained staff on hand.
David Ramirez, the family’s lawyer, could not immediately be reached for further comment. The Dallas Independent School District released this statement to reporters on Monday:
The Dallas Independent School District is committed to educating the whole child each day, and in doing so, we believe in providing a productive learning environment that is safe for all staff and students. While there has been media interest into an alleged incident at one of our Dallas ISD campuses, due to federal confidentiality laws protecting the privacy of all students and their families, we are unable to publicly confirm or deny the matter reported. We stand by our commitment to serve all students and to ensure their health and safety are never compromised as we focus on student achievement.
The school district declined additional comment.
The Dallas Behavioral Health Hospital did not respond to questions about Lopez’s admission and their broader policy on admitting minors without parental consent.
This post has been updated with comment from the Dallas Independent School District.