Friday, December 2, 2011

Student arrested for burping, lawsuit claims

A 13-year-old was handcuffed and hauled off to a juvenile detention for burping in class, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed against an Albuquerque public school principal, a teacher and a city police officer.

The suit was filed Wednesday, the same day the district was also sued by the family of a 7-year-old autistic boy who was handcuffed to a chair.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the unnamed seventh grader was arrested last May 11 at Cleveland Middle School after he "burped audibly" in his P.E. class. "Criminalizing of the burping of a thirteen-year-old boy serves no governmental purpose," the lawsuit said. "Burping is not a serious disruption, a threat of danger was never an issue."

The lawsuit alleges the boy was transported to the juvenile center without his parents being notified. It also says he was denied his due process rights because he was suspended for the rest of that school year without "providing him an explanation of the evidence the school claimed to have against him." He was not allowed to call witnesses or defend himself against the burping allegation.

The boy was never charged. He scored a - 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 according to a risk assessment given by the jail staff, 10 being extremely dangerous. more