KANSAS CITY, MO – Today, a federal court refused a request to toss out a lawsuit brought against the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) for handcuffing a second grader in 2014.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough denied KCPS’ motion for summary judgement to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Missouri in September 2016.

Kalyb Wiley Primm, then 7 years old, was handcuffed for about 20 minutes while waiting in the principal’s office for a parent to arrive after he was removed from class. He was handcuffed by an officer and pushed down a hallway after he cried out in response to being bullied in his classroom. At the time, Kalyb stood less than 4 feet tall and weighed less than 50 pounds.

“Kalyb posed no danger, committed no crime and threatened no one,” said ACLU of Missouri Legal Director Tony Rothert. “Handcuffing this child was an excessively forceful act that violated his constitutional rights.”

The incident also violated state policy, which says that the use of restraints for elementary and secondary students should be used only in extreme circumstances or emergencies.

“This case is a call to action for all of us to stop the unnecessary – and often excessive – punishment that is disproportionately used on young boys of color in schools,” said ACLU of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman.

The ACLU of Missouri recently released a report on discipline disparities across Missouri that revealed Black students and students with disabilities are punished more severely and more frequently than their peers.

Missouri has the highest black-white disparity rate in the U.S. when it comes to disciplining elementary school students, according to a 2015 study by The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California-Los Angeles.

The trial is set to begin on January 29 at Charles Evans Whittaker U.S. Courthouse, 400 E. 9th St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

Read the decision.

Stay informed

ACLU of Missouri is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National