If you think a first-grader stole candy… you handcuff them for an hour?

Aug 12, 2016 at 11:35 a.m. ET
Image: Ray Lego/Photodisc/Getty Images

Parents place their absolute trust in school staff to look after their kids — and to discipline them in an appropriate manner when necessary. But they don't always get it right… on either count.

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The alarming story of Madisyn Wordlow, a 6-year-old girl in Chicago who was handcuffed under the stairs at Fernwood Elementary School for over an hour, has made the news after her mother filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education and the security guard responsible for doling out the punishment.

Marlena Wordlow's lawyer alleges that the security guard, Divelle Yarbrough, used excessive force, falsely imprisoned the young girl and caused her emotional distress.

What on earth led to Yarbrough handcuffing little Madisyn under the stairs, near the school boilers? Apparently other students told the guard that she had stolen a piece of candy (her mother insists it was part of her own lunch), and Yarbrough decided he was "teaching [Madisyn] a fucking lesson."

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Chicago Public Schools released a statement saying the district took immediate action: The guard had been fired, and a "do not hire" note had been placed in his personnel file. However, Wordlow claims the school system has not been "helpful" since the incident, and nor have the police — who declined to press charges against Yarbrough.

Meanwhile, Wordlow and Madisyn are still trying to deal with the aftermath of what happened. The young girl, who was "crying, sweating and visibly scared and distraught" when her mom arrived to remove her from the school, has special needs and still doesn't have a new school.

It appears that Madisyn did nothing at all to warrant being punished — and even if she had stolen sweets, being handcuffed under a stairway is massively disproportionate to her crime. In fact, there's nothing any child could ever do to deserve such treatment. It's like the plot of a horror story, not something we'd expect to find going on in our schools in 2016.

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Let's hope Madisyn and her mom manage to move on from this awful experience — and that the Chicago Board of Education makes sure nothing like this is ever allowed to happen again.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

funny notes left for teachers
Image: SheKnows