The superintendent of Florida’s Miami-Dade County public schools has urged the local police not to use Taser stun guns on elementary-age youngsters.
Rudolph F. Crew expressed what he called “deep concern” in a Nov. 16 letter to Bobby Parker, the director of the Miami-Dade police department, about an incident that occurred at Kelsey L. Pharr Elementary School in October. Officers from the department used a Taser to stun a 6-year-old who was “injured and agitated,” Mr. Crew wrote.
Mr. Crew asked that the department not use Tasers at all against elementary school pupils and “only as a nonlethal last resort” when dealing with students of any age on district campuses.
Tasers are devices that stun people by sending out 50,000 volts of electricity, causing them to lose control of their bodies and fall to the ground.
Mr. Parker held a news conference on Nov. 19 at which he defended the use of the Taser in the school’s main office.
A spokesman for the police department said officers were summoned to the school to deal with a violent child and found the boy armed with a shard of glass. The student threatened to harm both the officers and himself and began cutting his leg, police said. The officers, after checking first with their supervisor, fired their Taser to prevent the boy from further injuring himself.
A version of this article appeared in the December 01, 2004 edition of Education Week