Posted 12-15-2004 at 14:59:05
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PHILADELPHIA (December 13, 6:26 pm AST) - The police chief and the head of the city's schools apologized Monday to the mother of a 10-year-old girl who was arrested and handcuffed after she brought a pair of scissors to school in her backpack.
Although officers were following protocol when they drove the girl to a police station with her hands cuffed in front of her, discretion will be used in future cases involving young children, Police Chief Sylvester Johnson said.
Johnson said he told Rose Jackson that the arrest of her daughter, Porsche Brown, was "extremely unfortunate" and apologized for "any trauma that her daughter experienced" on her way to the station.
The district said Brown had violated a ban on bringing scissors - which are considered potential weapons - to school.
"But calling in local police to address such a matter involving a 10-year-old criminalized the young student who apparently meant no ill intent," said a statement from the office of school district Chief Executive Paul Vallas.
It also was "a waste of vital law enforcement resources," the statement said.
The girl's suspension, initially set for five days, was amended to two days and she was expected to return to class Tuesday, district spokeswoman Barbara Farley said Monday. She said she knew of no plans to expunge the suspension.
The fourth-grader did not threaten anyone with the 8-inch shears, which were found Thursday during a search of students' belongings after something disappeared from a teacher's desk, school officials said.
The girl's mother had voiced outrage at her daughter's arrest.
"My daughter cried and cried," Rose Jackson earlier told a Philadelphia newspaper. "She had no idea what she did was wrong. I think that was way too harsh."
Police officers decided Thursday that the girl hadn't committed a crime, and let her go.