Denver father speaks about 7-year-old son handcuffed at school

DENVER -- A Denver man is now speaking publicly about his 7-year-old son being handcuffed inside his elementary school.

It happened on April 19 at Florida Pitt Waller K-8 School in Green Valley Ranch.

Brandon Pryor says he received a phone call from the school that his son had been handcuffed after getting into an altercation with another student.

"My son was really upset and they were trying to calm him down and remove him from the classroom. He said he was in handcuffs for 30 minutes or more. That's scary for an adult, let alone a 7-year-old kid," Pryor said.

Denver Public Schools isn't disputing the boy was handcuffed, and the incident is now sparking a broader discussion about the district's handcuff policy.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers have learned the incident isn't isolated. According to numbers obtained through a public records request, 58 students have been handcuffed in Denver Public Schools over just the past two years. During the 2017-2018 school year, 31 students were handcuffed by Denver Public Schools Department of Safety employees. In 2018-2019, 27 students were handcuffed.

"A kid shouldn't have to experience being placed in handcuffs like a criminal. School should be a safe place," said Pryor.

Pryor hasn't decided his family's next move, but is hoping his son's experience leads to big changes in district policy. The family is currently homeschooling its two boys. Pryor also says a lawsuit is still a possibility.

"If they don't do the right thing, that's definitely going to happen," he said.

Denver Public Schools released this statement to FOX31 regarding its handcuff policy:

Denver Public Schools is committed to providing learning environments where all students are treated with dignity and respect. Under our current policies, restraints such as handcuffs can only be used by Department of Safety personnel and only as a last resort to address imminent danger of serious harm to a student’s self or to other students or staff. We have a rigorous process to review allegations that we are not living up to this policy, including a Force Review Board. There is also a process with the Colorado Department of Education that provides external and independent review if parents choose to file a complaint.

We cannot comment on any pending investigation due to student privacy concerns.  However, District officials are in the process of reviewing both the use of restraints and the training for our security officers. Our Board of Education will review and provide recommendations on any changes.

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