(FOX) — A Florida grandmother claims her 6-year-old granddaughter was arrested by a resource officer after throwing a temper tantrum at school – which she says happened because the child suffers from sleep apnea.
Meralyn Kirkland says the child, Kaia Rolle, was acting out at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, a charter school in Orlando, as a result of lack of sleep. The 6-year-old was then brought to the principal’s office.
Kirkland told WKMG-TV that while there, a school staff employee grabbed Kaia’s wrists, sparking her to lash out and kick her legs. The school resource officer – Officer Dennis Turner, of the Orlando Police Department – handcuffed Kaia and transported her to the Juvenile Assessment Center in Orlando on a battery charge.
Her grandmother said the child was fingerprinted and had her mugshot taken.
The Orlando Police Department told Fox News via email that the 6-year-old was released from custody and returned to the school before being processed at the juvenile center.
The arrest of people under the age of 12 requires officers to get permission from their watch commander – which Turner did not do, the department said.
Kirkland claims that when she told Turner the 6-year-old has sleep apnea, which the family is “working on getting resolved,” the officer didn’t understand why that would be an excuse for the child.
“He says, ‘Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don’t behave like that,'” Kirkland claimed the officer told her.
Kirkland questioned how a child could be arrested for kicking somebody.
“How do you do that to a 6-year-old child and because she kicked somebody? … A literal mug shot of a 6-year-old girl,” she said. “No 6-year-old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them and they were riding in the back of a police car and taken to a juvenile center to be fingerprinted, mug shot.”
Turner also reportedly arrested an 8-year-old that day in a separate incident on Thursday, according to WKMG. Baker told the news outlet Turner did not request permission for that child’s arrest, either. Authorities said an internal investigation is ongoing.
Kirkland says Kaia is supposed to report to court Oct. 16 and if she doesn’t a warrant will be issued for her arrest.