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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Arrested & Cuffed for Being in Wrong Class

ALBUQUERQUE (CN) - Albuquerque police handcuffed a middle schooler and took him to juvenile jail because he went to the wrong class, though a teacher told the cop the kid had severe ADHD and forgetfulness was part of his disability, the boy - now a man - claims in court.

Paul Castaneda sued Albuquerque; Officer D. Hensley, who allegedly arrested him; Sgt. Donny Keith and former Police Chief Ray Schultz, in Bernalillo County Court.

Castaneda, then 13, claims Officer Hensley, the school resource officer, arrested him on Dec. 12, 2008 in Grant Middle School in Albuquerque.

Castaneda says he had severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and the school knew it. He says he was scheduled for in-school suspension that day but forgot it, or had not been told about it, so he went to his regular class.

Hensley then "sought [him] out" and found him in his regular class, according to the lawsuit. Castaneda says he told the cop he had forgotten to go to the ISS room, and his teacher "informed defendant Hensley that she had forgotten to remind him, and that forgetting was part of his disability."

Hensley searched him, then handcuffed him with zip ties and took him to juvy hall, Castaneda says. He claims the zip ties were so tight they turned his fingers blue, and that Hensley charged him with a crime: Interference with Members of Staff, Public Officials or the General Public."

Castaneda claims that "the City of Albuquerque in encouraging and allowing police intervention into behavioral issues has prevented plaintiff from receiving full access to education opportunities," and that disabled children "should not be handcuffed."

He seeks punitive damages for excessive force, unreasonable search and seizure, violation of disability law by "criminalizing disabilities and suspending children for manifestations of disabilities," battery, false imprisonment, negligent training, and violations of the state and federal constitutions.

Defendant Keith was in charge of training school resource officers.

Castaneda is represented by Joseph Kennedy.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed in recent years accusing school districts, particularly in the deep South, of criminalizing children, particularly black children, as young as fourth grade for schoolboy behavior, arresting them and taking them to detention, in a "school to jail pipeline" for minorities.

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