State Says School, Not Jail, Should Deal With 6-Year-Old's
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 2, 2006
NAPLES, FLORIDA--The state of Florida has decided to drop a felony battery charge against 6-year-old Takovia Allen, who was arrested last month for kicking a Lely Elementary School teacher's aide.
The Naples News reported Thursday that Assistant State Attorney Hoang Dang said the prosecutor's office thought it would be more appropriate for the incident to be handled through the school system.
"There's not a lot of things we can do with a 6-year-old (in the court system)," Dang said, adding that the child would not understand the nature of the proceedings.
According to her mother, Tamara Williams, Allen has a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and is one of six students in a classroom of students with "behavior problems".
On May 2, Allen apparently became upset after a classmate broke her pencil. When teacher's aide Debra Dolan tried to line the children up to go to music class, the 3-foot, 9-inch, 50-pound girl refused to go and kicked Dolan in the ankle.
Dolan reported the incident to school officials, who met with law enforcement officials and decided to press felony charges against the girl.
Allen was arrested, charged with battery on a public education employee, and taken to juvenile jail where she was held for four hours.
Williams later said she doesn't understand why the school failed to follow the individualized behavior plan that was in place to address such situations.
"She shouldn't have kicked the lady," Williams said of her daughter. "But they took it too far."
Williams said they would be working on a new behavior plan to be implemented this fall.
"State drops battery charge against 6-year-old girl" (Naples News)
"Editorial: Arrest went over the top in disciplining 6-year-old" (Naples News)