In Texas, harsh allegations are being made against Dallas elementary school involving the use of “excessive force” against a 7-year-old student.
The parents of the boy, Yosio Lopez, have hired an attorney after they say that their son, who is in the special needs program, was handcuffed, injured, and transported to a local mental health facility after he grew disruptive in class — all without their knowledge.
On Monday, the boy's family shared several photos with NBC DFW, which they say show exactly what happened when the 7-year-old began “acting out” at school:
According to the family's lawyer, the incident occurred after Lopez, who reportedly “suffers from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and another mood disorder,” began banging his head against a wall during a class on May 9.
According to the boy's mother, April Odis, that was when Dallas Independent School District (ISD) police officers used “excessive force” — including a taser — to resolve the situation, eventually putting the 7-year-old in handcuffs for hours.
Lopez's grandmother, Eva Alejandro, shared what the boy told her following the incident:
"He said, 'The police laser tagged me at school,' and he says, 'My body did this real, real bad,' and he goes, 'By the time you knew it I had those handcuffs on my back.'
He goes, 'I couldn't get out of it, and all I wanted was my mommy.'"
Odis says that, while officials did call her to inform her of a problem with her son, they didn't tell her that the 7-year-old was transported to Dallas Behavioral Healthcare Hospital until she actually arrived at the school.
The family also shared photos that they say prove their claims about the boy's treatment, including bruises on his legs “from a Dallas ISD police officer's nightstick” and punctures on his back “from an officer's Taser”:
While school officials have said that, due to privacy laws, they can't comment on the matter, they did release a statement, saying:
The Dallas Independent School District is committed to educating the whole child each day, and in doing so, we believe in providing a productive learning environment that is safe for all staff and students.
While there has been media interest into an alleged incident at one of our Dallas ISD campuses, due to federal confidentiality laws protecting the privacy of all students and their families, we are unable to publicly confirm or deny the matter reported.
In a separate statement, reportedly issued across social media just to students' parents, the school added:
The image you may have seen posted is of a student while he is being restrained to protect himself against any further harm.
We ask for your help during this period to not continue to spread misinformation.
While the boy reportedly normally has “a trained school aide nearby to help calm him down,” that individual was not present the day of the incident.
The family's attorney says that the boy was not only sedated at the mental health facility, but that he was not released from there until Monday, a full six days after the incident took place.