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Federal Lawsuit Targets Kenton County For Allegedly Mistreating Children With Disabilities

The Kenton County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Charles Korzenborn, and School Resource Officer Kevin Sumner are named in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of two students who were eight and nine when "shackled" to control behavior problems last school year.

According to the lawsuit, one of the students, S.R., who was enrolled in the third grade at Latonia Elementary, has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a history of trauma. In this video, provided by the Children's Law Center, Dinsmore & Shohl and the ACLU, he is shown being "shackled" by Officer Sumner after failing to follow directions. School records show that S.R. was handcuffed for about 15 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72vu6nxZX58&feature=youtu.be

According to the lawsuit: "On the video, Defendant Sumner can be heard stating, "You can do what we ask you to or you can suffer the consequences." Plaintiff S.R. can be heard saying, "Oh, God. Ow, that hurts."

The lawsuit also claims a girl, L.G., had her biceps cuffed behind her back two times, also causing pain. She was a student at John G. Carlisle Elementary School in Covington. She has an ADHD diagnosis and has experienced mental health crises that required hospitalizations, according to the lawsuit.

The Children's Law Center says it is investigating other cases involving different students.

"Shackling children is not okay. It's is traumatizing, and in this case it is also illegal," said Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU. "Using law enforcement to discipline students with disabilities only serves to traumatize children."

As of Monday afternoon when the lawsuit was filed, the Kenton County Sheriff's Department said it had no comment because its attorneys hadn't yet seen the suit.

You can read the lawsuit here.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.