Alexa Gonzalez, 12, was arrested for drawing on her desk in Spanish class. Her mother Moraima Camacho says the principal at Junior High School 190 said calling the cops was agency policy. Pace for News
Don’t blame me, says principal who called for the arrest of Queens girl, 12, for doodling on desk
BY Victor Epstein and Rachel Monahan
Education officials say it was a “mistake,” but the principal of a school where a 12-year-old girl was arrested and cuffed for doodling on her desk won’t back down, the student’s mom said Friday.
Alexa Gonzalez no longer faces a suspension for scribbling with a lime green marker, but principal Marilyn Grant told her mother, Moraima Camacho, that agency policy dictated that she calls the cops.
“[She said] that it wasn’t their fault that it was something they had to do,” Camacho said of her meeting with Grant at Junior High School 190 in Forest Hills. “She doesn’t consider it doodling.”
A message left for Grant was not returned.
After Alexa scribbled her name, the date and a smiley face on her desk during a Spanish class on Monday, her teacher reported her to an assistant principal, who placed a call to cops, city officials said.
The cops arrested Alexa, escorting her out of the school with her hands behind her back in metal handcuffs, Camacho said.
City Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg called the episode a mistake. “The principal made a mistake and has lifted the suspension,” she said.
Though other students have been arrested for petty wrongdoings, this was the first time the city admitted to an error, said New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman.
“This should be a wakeup call to the mayor,” she said. Teachers, students and parents at the school agreed Friday. “I definitely think it was excessive for this girl to be handcuffed,” said a teacher at the school .
The NYPD is expected this month to start using Velcro handcuffs to subdue unruly kids following a pilot program in 22 schools in northern Queens.