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New York Police Handcuff First-Grader; Say It Was The Right Thing To Do

First-grader Joseph Anderson didn't like the way his Easter egg turned out so he threw a tantrum at a Queens school. Teachers at Public School 153 told Anderson, who is a special education student, that if he didn't calm down they would send him to the hospital. His mom told the New York Daily News that after the ultimatum, the 7-year-old jumped on his desk and started screaming, "I just want my mommy."

Anderson was handcuffed and taken to the hospital by a New York Police Department officer. The Daily News reports that Anderson's mother had told the school she was on her way and that NYPD say their officer acted appropriately:

The NYPD defended cuffing the kid, saying in a statement that he was "acting in a threatening manner." A source also said he was waving scissors.

"He was a danger to himself and others in the classroom," a spokesman said. "He started spitting and cursing at the officers. The handcuffs were used to restrain the child because of his behavior. He was a danger to himself."

This is the third time the school has sent Joseph to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. The school suspended the boy for two weeks.

Earlier this month, an 8-year-old second-grader was pepper sprayed in the Denver area. Police said the boy was spitting at teachers and trying to stab them with a piece of molding he broke off a wall.

School officials there told local TV station KUSA that the officers did the right thing:

"He was violent, he was verbal, he was abusive," Community Superintendent Peg Kastberg said. "The police were very thoughtful and thorough about the actions that they took."

The boy's mother told KUSA she hoped the school could've resolved the issue by talking to him. "I'm sure what he was doing wasn't right, but he's 8 years old," she said. "They walked in, asked him to drop the stick, and then sprayed him with the spray... I think it's excessive."

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