8-year old arrested, charged with battery — (Star Banner)

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Star Banner

Jan 23, 2002

AUSTIN L. MILLER, Staff Writer

OCALA — A Marion County sheriff’s deputy removed an angered and fighting 8-year-old boy from his school on Thursday afternoon and charged him with battery on a school official, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The Fessenden Elementary School student was handcuffed by the deputy because he was fighting and kicking those trying to talk with him, according to the sheriff’s report. The student is also accused of trying to scratch and punch the deputy. The report noted several students and teachers — including the boy’s brother — tried to calm him down but were unsuccessful.

When Principal Loretta Jenkins tried to talk with the boy, he stepped on her toe, according to the report. Jenkins recently had surgery for an ingrown toenail and was in pain after the boy stepped on that toe, the deputy noted in the report.

The Star-Banner is not releasing the student’s name because of his age.

He was transported to the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center and charged with battery on a school official, disturbance of a school function and resisting arrest without violence. He was later released to his mother.

During a hearing on Friday morning, a judge placed him on home detention.

“He’s not allowed to leave home without his parents’ knowledge,” said Kevin Christian, Marion County Public Schools spokesman.

Christian said Jenkins will need to review paperwork on the boy before deciding whether he should be expelled. He also said the boy has been in trouble before at the school but nothing this serious.

The boy’s mother, Chiqueta Vereen, said her son has a behavioral problem for which he currently takes two medications: Clonidine and Celexa. But, she said, he only gets angry when he thinks people are picking on him or if he’s irritated.  Vereen said her son takes his medication regularly.

“He’s not a problem child, but whenever he gets provoked, or being picked on, then he gets angry,” said Vereen, who is angry about how the school and the deputy handled the situation.

Christian said the boy may be taking his medication at home, but he has not been taking it at school since Nov. 28.

Vereen said her son told her another boy had hit him in the head on Thursday and then he hit the boy back before the teacher caught him.

“My son said he tried to tell the teacher about the incident, but she was very mean to him,” Vereen said. “When the school called me the first time, I talked with him and everything was fine, and I told them to call me if anything went wrong. They called me when the situation got out of control.”

Vereen also said her son told her Jenkins squeezed her son’s face and twisted his arm.

“My son told me that he doesn’t remember stepping on her toe and that all he wanted to do was to get away from her,” Vereen said.

Jenkins declined to comment.

Austin L. Miller covers public safety and can be reached at austin.miller@starbanner.com or 867-4118.