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A 10-year-old black girl was arrested at her Hawaii school for a drawing related to a "common" dispute between children, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Hawaii reported.
In response to the incident, the ACLU sent a letter Monday to the Honolulu Police Department, the State Department of Education and the state attorney general's office asking them to adopt policy changes, delete all arrest records and pay US $ 500,000 in compensation for "damage and suffering" caused by their agencies.
In January 2020, a parent called Honowai Elementary School in Honolulu to complain about the girl's drawing and demanded that staff call police, the ACLU said.
When police arrived, the girl, who was identified only as "NB," was "handcuffed with excessive force and taken to the police station," the ACLU said.
The girl's mother, Tamara Taylor, said they called her to school, but they did not allow her to see her daughter or inform her that "they handcuffed her in front of the staff and her classmates, put her in a patrol car and took her away. ".
"I was stripped of my rights as a mother and my daughter was stripped of her right to protection and representation as a minor. There was no understanding of diversity, black culture and the history of police involvement with black youth. My my daughter and I are traumatized by these events and I am discouraged to learn that this day will live with my daughter forever, "Taylor said in a statement shared by the ACLU on her behalf.
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The Honolulu Police Department told CNN Tuesday that it was "reviewing the letter and will work with the Corporation's attorney to address these allegations."
A spokesperson for the Hawaii DOE said the agency had no comment at this time.
In the letter, the ACLU said the girl "allegedly participated in an offensive drawing of a student in response to that student bullying her."
In the days after her arrest, the girl told her mother that she drew the drawing, but several other students participated in coloring and writing on it, the group says in the letter.
The girl said she "didn't want the drawing handed over to her, but one of the other students snatched it from her hands and handed it to her anyway," the ACLU said in the letter.
A copy of the drawing or further details about what it represented were not released.
CNN contacted Honowai Elementary School and the ACLU to determine what the drawing represented, but did not immediately receive a response.
The ACLU gave the school and police until November 8 to respond.
Black girls are often treated like adults, advocates say
The ACLU and a family attorney described the actions of school personnel and police in Hawaii as "extreme and disproportionate" and said they suggest the girl and her mother were singled out and discriminated against because of their race.
Mateo Caballero, an attorney representing the family, said the way his clients were treated is "too common and totally preventable."
Researchers and advocates have said that black girls are often perceived and treated as adults, making them the targets of harsh treatment by the police and severe disciplinary action at school.
A 2017 study by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality found that black girls as young as 5 are seen as needing less protection and care than white girls. "
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Earlier this year, a school resource guard on the Florida corps beat a 16-year-old black girl before handcuffing her.
The girl's family said she suffered memory loss and headaches from the incident.
In recent years, New Jersey police have been criticized for handcuffing a 10-year-old girl during a traffic stop; police officers in North Carolina were accused of beating boys and girls to the body, restraining them with a maneuvering maneuver. strangulation, and police officers in Orlando, Florida, arrested a 6-year-old girl for allegedly having a tantrum.
During the 2017-2018 school year, more than 229,470 students were referred to law enforcement agencies or arrested, according to the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
Black students accounted for 15% of the student body, nearly 29% of referrals to law enforcement, and 31% of all students arrested at school or during a school-related activity.