Two Young Children Arrested in Orlando, Florida by School Resource Officer

Triton Officals Weigh in on the Shocking News


Holly Harris

Haleigh Harris models what a young child in handcuffs would look like. According to FBI data, between 2013 and 2018 at least 30,467 children under the age of 10 were arrested in the United States. The numbers skyrocket for children between the ages of 10 to 12 with 266,321 arrested during the same six-year time span.

“I didn’t believe it was true,” said Assistant Principal Mr. Scott Brennan, after learning about the recent arrests of two six year old children.

The children were from Lucious and Emma Nixon Elementary Charter School, located in Orlando Florida, and they were arrested on not one, but two separate occasions. 

Nearly 30,000 underage kids in the United States have been arrested since 2013. 

Officer Dennis Turner made the two arrests at the Orlando Charter school. The first child was a girl, Kaia Rolle. The second child was a boy whose name and race has not yet been released. Officer Turner has been terminated for his actions. Despite the termination of the officer, there has been conflict regarding the arrests of young children in general. Triton Regional High School’s Resource Officer John Lucey disagreed tremendously with the way the entire situation was handled. 

“The only time I could ever imagine putting handcuffs on someone that young, is if they’re a danger to themselves and I needed to put handcuffs on them to protect them,” said Lucey.

Officer Turner was terminated after these arrests for a few different reasons. First off, arresting someone under the age of 12 requires a supervisor’s approval, that of which Officer Turner did not have. Second, this is not Officer Turner’s first run-in with having to be investigated, as well as reprimanded. Officer Turner was charged with aggravated child abuse in 1998 in connection with his 7-year-old son. He was also reprimanded in 2016 for using excessive force after stunning a man with a taser 5 times during the arrest. 

“People forget that police officers are human beings and all human beings make mistakes, but if it is a repeated thing then it becomes no longer a mistake, more a pattern of behavior, and just like any other job when your making the same mistake over and over again, you should be let go,” said Officer Lucey.

Officer Lucey is in agreement with the termination of Officer Turner due to the pattern of issues that have happened in relation to Officer Turner. 

The arrest of the six year old child started with her personal condition. Kaia Rolle has sleep apnea, according to her grandmother. One of the side effects of this condition that Kaia was struggling with, was acting out in class. Kaia was having a tantrum when a staff member at the school tried grabbing her wrists to calm her down. At which point Kaia began to kick the staff member. She was then handcuffed and arrested by Officer Turner being held on charges of “suspicion of battery”. 

“I am against the actual physical custody of juveniles,” said Lucey. “I see that as more of a last resort. The reason for that is, once you actually put a kid in handcuffs, especially in a school setting, it kind of attaches a stigma to them moving forward as being a bad kid. I always try to maybe just get them sent home, whatever the school would do as far as a suspension, and then if there are going to be criminal charges it would be through a summons process.”

Not only is the arrest of a child this young shocking, but it is also damaging to the child. There is a stigma that comes with being arrested, especially as a child or teen. You are then known to some as the “bad kid”. Officer Lucey agrees with the fact that arresting a child attaches a bad stigma to them. 

“I think it kind of goes in hand as far as the stigma attached, kids thinking that their bad and always going to be bad, as well as other kids that see it happen, are going to think ‘that’s a really bad kid’ and it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for someone who just thinks their a bad kid,” said Lucey. “Obviously the overall trauma of being put in handcuffs, that kid at that age is probably not going to be afraid of cops for the rest of their life, which is really unfortunate and kind of completely counterintuitive to what the SRO is supposed to be, we’re supposed to be building relationships with the young people, not breaking them.”

The Assistant Principal of Triton Regional High School, Mr. Scott Brennan also said he believes that arresting a child that young “absolutely” affects the child mentally. He, as well as Officer Lucey, believes that once a child that young is arrested, their future with the police will be affected greatly by that one arrest. 

“They say at five years old that’s where you develop your personality and all of that stuff. Imagine just this kid, anywhere, 10, 15, 20 years old,” said Brennan. “If there’s a cop car on the side of the road with a speed trap, anything, there just going to go back to this. I think there is a dramatic effect.”

“Stunning annual crime statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) show that between 2013 and 2018 (the most recent year for which complete data is available), at least 30,467 children under the age of 10 were arrested in the United States. And the numbers skyrocket for children between the ages of 10 to 12 with 266,321 arrested during the same six-year time span, according to the data,” According to ABCNews and FBI data.

Race plays a part in the arrests of not only children but teenagers and young adults. 

“Black students were disproportionately subject to those disciplinary measures — representing 15% of the student body and 31% of referrals, a 16% gap (up from 11% the year before),” According to ABCNews and FBI data.

“Race plays a role in everything- we have a white society which is sad, very sad, and if you’re a different color, you’re almost a target. You have to be extra- extra, and I don’t get it,” said Brennan. 

Brennan was “embarrassed” when he learned about the arrest of a child that young in regards to society itself. 

“I think society has come so out of tune,” said Brennan. “This happens, okay. We overreact to everything- every word that we say- it’s an overreaction. We have to re-evolve. We really do. I was embarrassed to learn of this.”

Mr. Joseph Galante, one of Triton High School’s math teachers, believes that children should, in fact, be punished for actions that should result in punishment, but arresting a child for a tantrum is not the best course of action. 

“Though children should be subjected to punishment, arresting them is not the correct approach,” said Galante. 

There easily could have been a better way to resolve this situation than putting handcuffs on a young child. Officer Lucey and Mr. Brennan both had solutions that did not result in putting a child in handcuffs. 

“Basically I would issue a complaint which would be mailed to their house, I’ve done that several times, but I try to avoid physically putting handcuffs on them,” said Lucey.

“Let’s bring them to another room or everybody leaves the room, let’s work this out calmly,” said Brennan.