Girl Handcuffed for ‘bad Attitude' at School

(NECN/KUSA: Will Ripley) - Children who cop an attitude at school might want to think twice.

Eleven-year-old Yajira Quezada, a sixth-grader at Colorado's Shaw Heights Middle School, was handcuffed and taken to a holding facility for disobeying the orders of an assistant principal during lunch and being "argumentative and extremely rude".

An Adams County Sheriff's Office incident report says the assistant principal found Yajira walking in the hallway during lunch because the girl claimed she was cold and needed to get a sweater from her locker.

The report says the assistant principal was in mid-sentence when Yajira, "turned and walked away saying, 'I don't have time for this.'"

When intervention efforts with a counselor failed, Yajira was handcuffed and put in the school resource officer's patrol car and taken to a juvenile holding facility called "The Link."

"She told me that I need to quit giving her my attitude. Why would they handcuff me? I'm not the type of girl to get arrested," Yajira said.

The Adams County Sheriff's Office says handcuffing kids during transport is standard procedure.

"They're treating them like criminals. And they're not, they're kids," Yajira's mother, Mireya Gaytan, said.

Gaytan doesn't condone her daughter's behavior but questions the severity of the punishment and the handcuff marks left on Yajira's hands.

Steve Saunders, director of communications and community relations for Adams County School District 50, says anytime an incident rises to this level, officials take a close look at what happened.

"You hate to see something escalate to where it becomes a police matter. Once they step in and take over a case, it is really in their hands. The conclusion was, as far as the district was concerned, everything was handled appropriately," Saunders said.

Gaytan moved both of her daughters to a new school.

"I don't want this to happen to any more 11-year-old kids. They're scaring them. They're traumatizing them," Gaytan said.

Yajira now knows what not to do when talking to a teacher.

"Not to give them attitude. I am blaming myself," Yajira said.

The Adams County Sheriff's Office says they could not talk about this incident because a juvenile was involved and no charges were filed.

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